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The Buzz

13 Dec

Dear Readers: We will post news stories early next week before taking a holiday break through New Year’s Day beginning Dec. 19. Our 2019 news coverage and analysis will begin on Jan. 2. Wishing you happy and healthy holidays. This week, the California’s Air Resources Board adopts amendments to the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, which […]

Cap & Trade Revisions Focus on Cost Control

13 Dec

California air regulators Dec. 13 adopted amendments to the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program designed to curb the cost of cutting emissions in the coming decade. They also fine tuned how emissions trading will work in the coming decade. The amendments will help “contain the costs” of cutting carbon emissions while “increasing the environmental benefits to […]

CPUC Restricts Power Shutoffs & Approves Affordable Clean Energy Pilots

13 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 13 unanimously approved a temporary framework that seeks to reduce the number of utility power and gas disconnections for unpaid energy bills. A vote on the order authored by Commissioner Martha Aceves Guzman had been put off last month because of disagreements over some of its provisions, including capping […]

CPUC Directs Shareholders Pay IOU Bonuses, Approves SDG&E Budgets

13 Dec

State energy regulators’ Dec. 13 signed off on a decision requiring that executive bonuses paid to private utility executives, which are in excess of $1 million, be paid by shareholders, not ratepayers. The change is required by the new wildfire liability legislation, SB 901, which was enacted in September. This new California Public Utilities Commission […]

CPUC Rulemakings Aim to Reduce Fire & Equipment Sabotage Risks

13 Dec

To keep active power lines from sparking or worsening wildfires, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Dec. 13 to launch a rulemaking to improve decision-making on when utility power lines should be shutoff in advance of potential blazes. “We must act,” said CPUC member Carla Peterman, who is leaving the commission. She added the […]

CAISO Sets Level Budget & Looks to New Appointees in 2019

13 Dec

The grid operator’s newly approved budget for the coming year sets a revenue requirement of $193.5 million. It is 2 percent lower than the adopted requirement for 2018. At its final meeting of the year held Dec. 13, the California Independent System Operator’s board of governors also outlined goals for the coming year, particularly to […]

JUICE: Flying a Jet Plane?

12 Dec

California may create a central power purchasing agency to fill gaps in the state’s electricity supply to ensure the grid remains reliable, and possibly to act as the provider of last resort. The state essentially did the same some 17 years ago with less than stellar results, though the circumstances were different. Out of the […]

Undercurrents: Morro Bay Eyes Ocean Wind Project Benefits

11 Dec

A project developer entered an agreement late  last month with the city of Morro Bay aimed at creating local benefits if a 650 MW offshore wind farm is eventually built about 30 miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Castle Wind and the city struck the community benefits deal Nov. 29. It seeks […]

Climate Roundup: Power Industry Emissions Drop Dramatically

10 Dec

Cleaner power production across the U.S. since 2010 has cut the yearly toll of health and environmental damage from making electricity from $245 billion to $133 billion. Most of the benefits of cleaner power production are enjoyed in eastern states, like West Virginia. The east has seen a reduction in reliance on coal power, as […]

Shorts

10 Dec

A dozen-and-a-half Democratic U.S. Senators called on the newest member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to abstain from voting on energy matters on which he previously took strong stances, including on fossil fuel subsidies. Bernard McNamee played an active role in seeking price supports for nuclear and coal resources from FERC when working at […]

IOUs Detail Equipments Possible Role in Fires, Including Bullet Holes

7 Dec

Updated Dec. 11. Both Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison filed follow-up reports with the California Public Utilities Commission on the possible role of their equipment in last month’s fires in Northern and Southern California. PG&E said it found bullet holes at the break point of the pole and on the equipment at […]

The Buzz

7 Dec

Power demand through 2030 may be less than the California Energy Commission projected earlier this year because of slower economic growth. The California Public Utilities Commission okays the three investor-owned utilities’ 2018-22 demand response programs, but also revises them. A draft CPUC decision would continue to require investor-owned utilities to line up resource adequacy contracts, […]

Power Demand Growth to Remain Tempered, CEC Says

6 Dec

Power demand through 2030 may be a bit lower than what the California Energy Commission projected in an official 2017 forecast adopted earlier this year due to lower economic growth. Commission staff outlined the new, lower preliminary projection at a workshop held Dec. 6 as part of the agency’s 2018 demand forecast update. “Our forecasting […]

Utilities’ 5-Year Demand Response Programs Okayed

6 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission modified the three investor-owned utilities’ 2018-22 demand response programs when it approved them last week. Changes in the five-year program included prohibiting resources for new customers being bid into two markets: Critical Peak Pricing and demand response programs offered by a utility or third party. According to the decision, the […]

CPUC Resource Adequacy Decision Pitches Small Reforms

6 Dec

A draft decision by two administrative law judges that may be adopted early in 2019 would keep investor-owned utilities in the driver’s seat in lining up contracts needed for resource adequacy on the grid, particularly in local areas where transmission is constrained. Under the draft decision quietly released for comment late last month, the California […]

CPUC Officials Warn of Growing Market Power

5 Dec

Golden State electric ratepayers could soon become victims of price manipulation, according to California Public Utilities Commission officials. “California is currently entering an era of tighter generation supplies than we have experienced in recent years,” wrote Commissioner Liane Randolph and CPUC Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch in a ruling last month. The ruling came in […]

Shorts

5 Dec

Updated Dec. 6. The U.S. Senate Dec. 6 confirmed Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 50-49 vote. McNamee’s nomination was controversial because of the role he played while at the U.S. Department of Energy, specifically entailing its proposal that FERC order subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants. McNamee “needs to […]

State Energy Buyer Bill Introduced; One to Thwart Utility Bankruptcies is a No Show

4 Dec

A key state lawmaker Dec. 3 held off on introducing legislation to keep California’s investor-owned utilities from being driven into bankruptcy by billions of dollars in potential wildfire liability claims. Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said he had planned to introduce the measure on Monday when new lawmakers were sworn in. Holden, who chairs the Assembly […]

Climate Roundup: More State Money Needed to Hit 5M EV Mark

4 Dec

Dramatic increases in investments in both charging stations and subsidies to auto purchasers are needed to get 5 million electric vehicles on the state’s roads by 2030, according to estimates presented this week to the California Air Resources Board. Meeting the 2030 goal will cost the state billions of dollars over the next ten years. […]

Undercurrents: CPUC Okays $812 M for DWR Crisis Bond Charges

4 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission approved passing through to ratepayers the cost of Department of Water Resources’ bonds arising from the multi-billion dollar power contracts the state signed in the midst of the 2000-01 energy crisis. With no discussion late last week, the CPUC signed off on allocating DWR’s $812 million in 2019 bond service […]