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Roundup: Power Shutoffs in Winter, San Diego Community Energy to Launch Soon

19 Jan

Highly unusual winds for this time of year prompted preventive power shutoffs and warnings to more than 300,000 utility customers early this week, nearly all in Southern California Edison territory. About 78,546 SCE customers across six counties had their power cut by Tuesday afternoon. Most were in Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura counties. In addition, […]

Bill Provides Backing for Microgrids in Struggling Communities

19 Jan

A proposed bill in the state Senate would address the growing gap in who is able to set up microgrids in California by providing support to communities seeking energy resilience. SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) creates a statewide grant and technical assistance program to help local governments increase installations of clean community microgrids […]

Five Fed Energy Regulators at the Helm

19 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first meeting of 2021 was the first time in many months that it operated with a full five-member board. The last time there was a full commission was August 2018. “A little bit of normality is creeping back in,” James Danley, FERC chair, said at the start of the Jan. […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

The Buzz

14 Jan

One of the avenues for helping secure power supplies during safety shutoffs and heat waves is a proceeding on clean microgrids. But a new California Public Utilities Commission decision makes little headway on advancing the microgrid market because of concerns about ratepayer costs and safety. Those concerns do little to appease low-income advocates who object […]

Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

Federal Officials Seek to Weaken Desert Renewables Deal

14 Jan

The Trump Administration just poked one more, perhaps final finger in California’s eye by proposing changes to the complex, stakeholder-developed plan identifying suitable sites for wind and solar development on public lands in the state’s southeastern desert. The Jan. 13 amendments to the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan would open more lands to off-road vehicles, […]

News Roundup: SDG&E’s Power Costs Okayed, LA Power Cited for Methane Leak

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 14 The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved San Diego Gas & Electric recovering from ratepayers $1.16 million for its 2021 projected power procurement costs, including for utility-owned generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Presiding Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves rejected SDG&E’s proposed accounting change that would have put off a sizable amount of the […]

Shorts

12 Jan

The Public Advocates Office announced it saved California ratepayers more than $3 billion in utility rates last year. “The impacts of COVID-19 and the increasing frequency of wildfires have made our advocacy that much more important for Californians,” Elizabeth Echols, Director of CalAdvocates, said Jan. 11. She stressed the need for affordable safe utility services–from […]

CPUC Orders Utilities to Line Up More Resources for Peak Summer Demand

11 Jan

To avoid rolling outages due to electricity supply shortages, state officials direct the three investor-owned utilities to line up additional resources by mid-February. The aim is to ensure peak demand and demand as the sun sets, known as net peak, are met this summer.   Under a Jan. 8 proposed decision by an administrative law […]

Newsom Proposes $2.5B for Electric Transportation & Fire Mitigation

11 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposes spending more than $1.5 billion to accelerate electric and other non-fossil fueled vehicles and charging stations, particularly in polluted poor communities. He also plans to direct another $1 billion to reduce wildfire risks in high threat areas—forests and communities.  Newsom’s proposal released Jan. 8 highlights significant exacerbation of climate […]

The Buzz

7 Jan

Three is not a charm for Pacific Gas & Electric. Its problematic 1,150 MW Unit 2 at its Diablo nuclear plant is down for a third time because of a new issue. The soonest it will be back online is the end of May. A quintet of community energy agencies receive solid credit ratings, which […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Updated Jan. 8 at 2:30 PM Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in service before Memorial Day. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

More Community Aggregators Come of Age, Get Rated

7 Jan

Community energy organizations in California continue to do well on their early investment credit ratings, with five of the entities now rated. Two Bay Area community energy organizations, which supply energy to former private utility ratepayers, are the most recent to receive solid grades. Silicon Valley Clean Energy received an “A” from S&P Global Ratings […]

News Roundup: New CPUC Executive Director

6 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission named a new executive director to replace the former chief Alice Stebbins, who was fired in August. Rachel Peterson, who has been the Acting Executive Director, became the new director Jan. 5. “It is a great move for the CPUC,” Arthur O’Donnell, energy analyst and journalist, and former CPUC staffer, […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

Edison Reimagines California’s Distribution System

5 Jan

Distributed energy’s explosive growth makes integrating it in a way that supports the power system critical, according to a new white paper from Southern California Edison. The paper forecasts significant growth of distributed energy resources (DER) in California and “we want to have the system technologies to see and manage their impacts,” SCE VP of Asset […]

Shorts

5 Jan

Peninsula Clean Energy signed three contracts for 245 MW of wind energy Jan. 5, running seven to 20 years. To hit its 100% renewable goal set for 2025, Peninsula needs “significant contributions from wind energy,” Peninsula Clean Energy CEO Jan Pepper said. The deals include a 20-year agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for 30 MW […]

The Buzz

17 Dec

Federal energy regulators shoot down a proposed order requiring the grid operator to prove the August outages were not caused by its unreasonable tariff. Two of the three voting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members reject interfering with the California Independent System Operator’s work with state energy agencies to fill grid reliability gaps. The California Public […]

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