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Undercurrents

5 Jun

East Bay Community Energy is one of the first community choice aggregation programs in California to develop a community economic development plan aimed at leveraging local control over power procurement to create local jobs and business development opportunities. The draft plan issued June 4 “is intended to develop a comprehensive framework for accelerating the development […]

Bills to Aid Gas Plants, School Energy Bills & Reduce Building Emissions Advance

26 Apr

Measures to increase payments to needed, but struggling gas power plants in California, to assess how to increase the use of electric air and space heating in homes, and to extend intervenor compensation to schools were sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed these and other energy bills April […]

Shorts

27 Feb

The California Energy Commission staff held a Feb. 27  workshop on its emerging grant program for renewable energy projects for the agricultural industry. Eligibility for the $6 million in competitive grants, funded by the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auctions, includes renewable projects on farm land, including areas used for growing cannabis. This CEC grant program “is being […]

LA County Choice Program Goes Live

13 Feb

Los Angeles Community Choice Energy became operational this month, serving some 2,000 county facilities. Operating under the new name of the Clean Power Alliance of Southern California, it will have more than 2.4 million residential customers and a quarter of a million business customers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and 26 […]

CEC Chair Touts So Cal Gas Storage & Dispenses Funds

17 Jan

During the California Energy Commission’s Jan. 17 meeting, its chair noted that the initial urgency driving him and the California Public Utilities Commission president to halt new natural gas hookups fed by the Aliso Canyon storage field has diminished. December, according to CEC Chair Bob Weisenmiller, was “incredibly warm,” reducing normal heating demand by about […]

No Holiday Rest for Energy Policy Actions

2 Jan

Key energy policy developments continued to unfold over the holiday period in California and the nation, with state utility regulators proposing a gas hookup moratorium in Los Angeles County for new homes and buildings and Marin County local government agencies going 100 percent renewable. In addition, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it was not paying […]

House Panel Debates North American Energy Trading

14 Dec

A House Energy & Commerce subcommittee Dec. 13 heard various views on whether and how to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, and specifically about ramifications to trade in natural gas, electricity and crude oil between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. “Energy trade and regulatory alignment have allowed the three countries to reduce their […]

Proposal To Replace Calpine RMR Deals with Storage & Alt Energy

13 Dec

A California Public Utilities Commission resolution released Dec. 8 would direct Pacific Gas & Electric to contract next year for sufficient local energy storage and preferred resources to ensure that the reliability-must-run contracts the grid operator entered with three Calpine plants are not renewed after 2018. The California Independent System Operator last month approved one-year […]

PG&E Pitches Replacing Oakland Plant with Clean Power

6 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric is proposing to swap out the 40-year old natural gas-fired power plant owned by Dynegy in Oakland with up to 40 MW of local alternative power supplies and a utility substation upgrade. PG&E wants the California Independent System Operator to approve its plan to develop local clean energy resources, including energy […]

Climate Roundup: Electric Big Rigs Face Big Costs

30 Nov

Electric big rig trucks, which the state is pushing hard to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and unhealthful pollutants from transportation, have high “upfront costs” that “are prohibitive,” Navigant Research concluded in a report released Nov. 29. The report comes as the California Public Utilities Commission is weighing a plan by Southern California Edison to […]

Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov

California regulators and policymakers say they want to see increases in demand response to reduce peak load and help balance out intermittent renewable resources. Despite the lip service, the amount of negawatt capacity reaped from the residential and commercial/industrial sectors has fallen since 2011, particularly from third-party aggregators working with the investor-owned utilities. “There is […]

Shorts

21 Nov

The grid operator won a national award for demonstrating that solar plants equipped with smart inverters can provide a variety of grid reliability services. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners last week gave the California Independent System Operator, First Solar, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the “Utility Industry Innovative Pilots or Demonstration Projects […]

Private Utility Portfolios Bulge with Renewable Credits

20 Nov

The three investor-owned utilities have an estimated 55,000 GWh worth of surplus renewable energy credits. These excess green credits, which are separate from the actual GWh of power produced, are being saved for use over the next 12 years to meet the utilities’ 50 percent renewable portfolio mandate in 2030. The hefty amount of renewable […]

Undercurrents

13 Nov

Renewable energy and the prospects for electric vehicles could be upended in part by Congressional action on tax legislation. At issue is the House tax package, which would cut the production tax credit for wind energy by more than a third, eliminate the federal $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles, and ax a 10 […]

Shorts

7 Nov

Coal power production is expected to increase next year largely at the expense of natural gas-fired generation, according to the Energy Information Agency’s short-term energy outlook for the nation released Nov. 7. Gas power production will be about even with coal power next year, with each representing about 31 percent of total power production, EIA […]

JUICE: Finding the Wind & CPUC Leadership

6 Nov

Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca once observed that “To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind. That is true for California’s utility regulators, who displayed a lack of vision and muddled thinking in two important meetings last week. The first meeting held by the California Public Utilities […]

Grappling with the Grid’s Horizon

28 Sep

Continuing to lower greenhouse gas emissions and raise California’s renewable standard in a changing electricity sector where utilities are shrinking worries the industry. “Where is the future going?” Ron Nichols, Southern California Edison president asked during the Independent Energy Producers annual conference held earlier this week. He took issue with the state separately pursing climate […]

JUICE: PURPA’s CA Purpose

13 Sep

Congress may gut the federal law requiring utilities to buy power from qualifying solar, wind and other alternative energy projects. Is that a big deal for California? Not really—if looking through a California-only lens. When viewing the issue from a Western perspective, however, significantly weakening or eliminating the must buy provisions of the federal Public […]

Private Utilities Report 3,100 MW of Qualifying Facilities

13 Sep

The 40-year old federal law mandating that private utilities buy power from independent producers, which was once center stage, is back stage in California today. That’s largely because of the state’s renewables mandate and improved interconnection. Today, investor-owned utilities continue to purchase power from independent small renewable and cogeneration projects under state regulatory programs established […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]