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The US is Behind Rare Mineral Curve Big Time

17 Sep

The surge in renewable energy and electric vehicles highlights the risks of importing limited essential minerals from opaque markets, many in unstable regions, and the United States’ failure to compete in this area. “Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver, gallium, indium, tellurium; and wind turbines are not just […]

Vanishing Renewable Premium

16 Sep

The green premium has disappeared in Texas and the same will happen in California and elsewhere By Fereidoon Sioshansi Environmentally conscious consumers traditionally had to pay a premium to get clean kilowatt/hours. They’ve been typically offered as a “premium” product by the suppliers: the higher the renewable content, the greener the electrons and higher the […]

LADWP Board Backs Large Solar/Storage Contract

10 Sep

After a second hearing, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Board Sept. 10 approved a 375 MW power purchase contract from a solar project being built in Kern County. The project will include two large energy storage battery facilities. The board failed to muster the votes needed to approve the deal at its […]

Shorts

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 5. The Balancing Authority of Northern California and Western Area Power Administration Sierra Nevada Region signed agreements Sept. 5 to join the California Independent System Operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market. The two expect to begin participating in the market in April of 2021. This market focuses on short-term transfers of power to optimize the […]

LADWP Solar/Storage Deal Faces Union Opposition

4 Sep

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board next week is expected to take up for a second time a proposed contract negotiated by the muni’s staff for the output of a 375 MW solar plant firmed by a 1,200 MWh battery storage system. However, its biggest union favors rebuilding local gas-fired plants. LADWP […]

12th Solar Project Opens under MCE’s Feed-in Tariff

3 Sep

Marin Clean Energy notched up its support for solar power last week as it began receiving enough electricity for 1,000 homes from the 3 MW American Canyon Solar Project in Napa County. Completion of the facility on Aug. 27 marked the 12th small-scale renewable energy project completed in MCE’s service territory under the community choice […]

Digital Analysis Compares Power Costs

27 Aug

The Natural Resources Defense Council introduced a tool that compares the costs of different sources of electricity in different states across the U.S., ranging from solar power in California to coal-fired generation in Wyoming. “At a time when cities, states, universities, and utilities are considering aggressive climate goals, this knowledge is essential to establishing informed […]

CA Electricity Sector Emissions Fall Nearly 10%

13 Aug

Greenhouse gas emissions from California’s electricity sector in 2017 dropped 9 percent below 2016 levels, but overall emissions in the state fell only 1 percent. The decrease in electricity emissions was offset by rising emissions from the state’s transportation sector, which is the largest source of carbon gases in the Golden State. That is according […]

Microgrids Can Create Community Energy Resilience

8 Aug

Microgrids offer increasing promise in making communities resilient to climate change by providing electricity for critical facilities during power outages or when utilities turn off power lines to prevent wildfires, researchers and community leaders told the California Energy Commission Aug. 8. They spoke to CEC members during a workshop this week on making the state’s […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Updated July 18. The California Energy Commission’s clean transportation program to date has provided $830 million in funding, with most of the money targeted at advancing the use of electric vehicles, according to a summary presented at a commission meeting on the program’s accomplishments July 18. In the clean vehicle infrastructure area, CEC has provided […]

Bills to Green & Save on Energy Advance

2 Jul

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee July 2 approved bills to require load serving entities to pick up the tab for system costs caused by their supply shortages, increase the efficiency of cool roofs and require energy regulators to reveal energy providers’ rates and portfolios. AB 1584 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) would require […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Bills Address Solar Systems in Wildfire Areas

18 Jun

The state Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee advanced two bills dealing with electricity and wildfires on June 18. One measure, AB 178 by Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), would exempt fire victims rebuilding their homes from a state requirement to put solar panels on their roofs. Dahle said his bill, which was opposed by environmental […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

Opinionated: Solar+Storage Challenges Gas Peakers

28 May

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Gas peakers have been around well before the recent rise of renewables made them even more indispensible. How else could grid operators fill in the void created by the vanishing solar generation when the sun sets at the end of the day or when wind stops spinning the wind turbines’ blades? And […]

Wildfire Catastrophe Fund Bill Clears Key Panel

25 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee backed a measure to establish a state-organized wildfire insurance fund that utilities could pay into in the absence of adequate fire liability policies in the insurance market. Meeting April 25, the panel approved AB 235, The California Wildfire Catastrophe Fund Act by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley), on a […]

Juice: Arnold’s Lasting Legacy

24 Apr

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Cal-EPA Secretary strolled down memory lane on Earth Day 2019 to assess the former governor’s chief achievements on clean energy and the environment. In a keynote address at the California Institute of Technology’s Earth Day program, Terry Tamminen breezed over what most Californians might think was Schwarzenegger’s key legacy, namely carbon […]

FERC Continues to Exclude GHG Impacts in Project Decisions

18 Apr

Two major liquefied natural gas facilities export projects in Texas and Louisiana were approved 3-1 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, although the decisions omit evaluations of their direct and cumulative greenhouse gas impacts. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who cast the decisive yes vote at the April 18 meeting, welcomed the projects and the decisions including […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid

2 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy PART 1 Editor’s Note: In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lorenzo Kristov and Mark Ferron, former CAISO board member, advocated for an “open access” distribution system and indicated that local planning increasingly is “where […]