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Grid Takes Solar Eclipse In Stride

22 Aug

During the Aug. 21 solar eclipse between 3,000 MW and 3,500 MW of large-scale solar dropped off line, according to the grid operator. The California Independent System Operator predicted the moon’s temporary shadowing of the sun would cause a loss of 6,000 MW of solar power, with 4,200 MW of that fall occurring at utility-scale […]

LADWP Moves Forward on Energy Storage

21 Aug

The nation’s largest municipal power utility committed to connecting 178 MW of electricity storage projects to its system over the next five years. The first project is a 20 MW battery system that will store excess power produced by major solar and wind projects in the Mojave Desert. Acting Aug. 16, the Los Angeles Department […]

The Buzz

28 Jul

The California Independent System Operator seeks to widen the route to the state’s wholesale electricity market for demand response. Microgrids promise benefits, but first the California Energy Commission says numerous speed bumps must be removed to make them more commonplace. The grid operator seeks to head off the potential for sudden loss of large amounts […]

Shorts

25 Jul

Marin Clean Energy voted to nearly double the number of its customers. The board of California’s first community energy organization approved admitting Contra Costa County, Concord, San Ramon, Pittsburg and five smaller municipalities into its service area. “So we’ve now got 33 communities in total,” Dawn Weisz, MCE executive officer, said July 21. Marin’s customer […]

Grid Operator Seeks to Avoid Solar Energy Crash

24 Jul

The California Independent System Operator is working to get utility-scale solar generators to reset the controls on their inverters to avoid massive losses of generation when transmission lines experience momentary faults. The effort comes after major solar systems have suddenly quit feeding power to the grid—in one case causing a sudden loss of almost 1,200 […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

100% Renewable Bill Sails Ahead

13 Jul

Legislation setting a 100 percent renewable standard by 2045 advanced this week in the Assembly. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed SB 100 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León July 12 on a 10-4 vote. The next day on July 13, the bill also gained approval by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee […]

Bills Approved Include Ones to Grow Renewable Baseload and EV Chargers

11 Jul

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee July 10 passed legislation to encourage the use of geothermal and biomass resources, automatically inform ratepayers of utility bill spikes, and expand ratepayer-funded installations of electric vehicle charging stations. AB 920 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) seeks to increase the use of baseload renewable resources as fossil fuel […]

Opinionated: NREL at 40-It Started With a Desire to Harness the Sun

11 Jul

By Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier that the […]

Shorts

11 Jul

The Energy Information Administration has added forecasts for small-scale solar system power capacity to its periodic Short-Term Energy Outlook reports. In its first such forecast, EIA projected that small-scale solar nationwide will grow from 14.3 GW to 21.9 GW by the end of 2018. Annual small-scale solar generation is expected to grow from 19,467 GWh […]

JUICE: China & CA Build the World We Want

3 Jul

Early in this decade, China was busy pursuing a plan to maximize its coal resources by building giant “coal bases” in its inland areas where the mineral is mined. I detailed the plan in a series of articles for Inside Climate News in 2014. China aimed to use its vast coal deposits, widely viewed as […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

CPUC Targets Smart Inverters’ Potential by 2020

3 Jul

A key to reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 12,000 MW of distributed energy resources by 2020 involves maximizing the use of smart inverters. Smart inverters “mitigate many of the traditional concerns associated with variable distributed energy resources,” like solar panels, Gabe Petlin, California Public Utilities Commission supervisor, said during a June 29 California Energy […]

Agencies Seek to Get a Grip on Self Generation

3 Jul

State energy agencies and the grid operator are grappling with how to forecast and better measure growing levels of distributed renewable energy flowing into the distribution and transmission systems. Unlike the high voltage system, power flows to and from lower voltage power lines are less transparent. No “adequate methods exist” for forecasting how distributed energy […]

Undercurrents: Trade Complaint Casts Shadow Over Solar Industry

19 Jun

A trade complaint filed by bankrupt photovoltaic cell manufacturer Suniva is being officially investigated by the International Trade Commission. It could recommend that President Trump levy tariffs as early as this fall. Suniva, which is based in Georgia but largely is owned by Chinese interests, is advocating that a duty of 40 cents per watt […]

SMUD Okays 1% Rate Hike

19 Jun

Sacramento Municipal Utility District ratepayers will be paying more for power beginning in 2018. Meeting June 15, the board approved consecutive 1 percent hikes for commercial and agricultural customers in 2018 and 2019, and a one-time hike of 1.5 percent for residential ratepayers in 2018. More “significant,” said Board Member Gregg Fishman, is that the […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]

CEC Continues to Grant Big Clean Energy Bucks

14 Jun

The California Energy Commission June 14 approved well over $50 million in grants to advance efficiency and alternative energy use in the transportation, natural gas and electricity sectors. Among the many grants approved on 3-0 votes was more than $20 million for nine new hydrogen refueling stations in California. The alternative fuel stations are expected […]

CA Wind & Solar Power #5 Among States

14 Jun

For the first time, monthly electricity generation from wind and solar (including utility-scale plants and small-scale systems) exceeded 10 percent of total U.S. electricity generation, according to a June 14 analysis by the Energy Information Agency. Generation by those renewable resources exceeded the 10 percent mark in March after averaging 7 percent of total generation […]

CA Home Solar Market Cools

8 Jun

Residential photovoltaic solar installations are declining in California for the first time this decade, according to a market report released June 8 by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The slowdown in the state, where residential installations dipped 35 percent during the first quarter of this year, dragged the national figure for residential installations down by […]