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Guest Juice: Solar Gets Better, Cheaper

24 Nov

By Feiridoon Sioshansi Solar projects, particularly the utility-scale variety, are now considered the cheapest way to generate power in California and many other parts of the U.S., according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s new report 2020 Utility-Scale Solar Data Update. It provides the latest trends in ground-mounted solar projects larger than 5 MWAC. It […]

CAISO Rules Evolve to Accommodate Solar Plus Storage

19 Nov

To accommodate the growth in battery projects paired with solar plants, the California grid operator’s board Nov. 18 further loosened constraints and will allow project operators to send more or less power into the market than initially bid. Allowing deviations from original bids aims to use more renewable power produced by combined solar-battery generators, reducing […]

State Regulators Face Solar Dilemma

3 Nov

Monday’s kickoff of California’s long-awaited proceeding to update net energy metering highlighted regulators’ dilemma of how to grow solar resources without shifting system costs to customers who don’t own solar energy projects. Nationally, hopes are high that California’s proceeding will offer breakthrough solutions to the troublesome successor tariff complexities that have emerged in other states […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

The Buzz

18 Sep

Groundbreaking action by federal regulators requires grid operators to open their doors to aggregated power from energy storage, solar rooftops, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. CAISO is ahead of the regional transmission operator pack, but the new rule is expected to ease the way for more clean distributed resources into its grid. The Federal Energy […]

Lawmakers Okay Smattering of Energy Bills

8 Sep

Updated Sept. 11 Fewer energy bills passed in the 2020 California legislative session than in any in the last two decades plus. The pandemic, shelter at home, and resulting focus on budget difficulties largely are responsible for the dramatic fall in energy measures making it to the governor’s desk. “It was pretty much a bust,” […]

The Buzz

27 Aug

State utility regulators sign off on funding the country’s biggest green public interest energy program and utility electric vehicle charging plan. The California Public Utilities Commission approves Southern California Edison’s $436 million program to install 38,000 electric car ports, focused on renters in and outside of struggling communities. The CPUC also extends for a decade […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

Guest Juice: It’s Time for California to Build Cheaper, Faster, Cleaner

24 Aug

By Pierre Delforge Dozens of concerned citizens, health and environmental organizations, and building professionals told the California Energy Commission at their August 12 virtual meeting that the time is now for California to align its building energy policies with its climate, public health and housing affordability goals. Advancing the electrification of new homes using grid-responsive […]

CA Grid Operator: “We are scouring every corner of our world.”

17 Aug

More than 3 million California homes could have their power cut off by the three investor-owned utilities starting late afternoon on Monday, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said. “It is a perfect storm,” he warned during an Aug. 17 early afternoon press call. Demand is expected to be higher […]

Grid Operator Calls for Californians to Cut Back on Power due to Heat Wave

14 Aug

Temperatures are expected to spike across California Friday through Sunday, driving up peak demand. To avoid overloading the grid and causing possible blackouts, the California Independent System Operator asked customers to reduce their power consumption from 3PM to 10PM on Friday. “California will be experiencing near-record or record-breaking heat, up to 10-20 degrees above normal […]

Juice: CA Leads on U.S. Green Hydrogen Solutions

11 Aug

California is showing that green hydrogen will soon be a crucial path to greenhouse gas emission reductions that cannot be reaped from wind, solar, and energy efficiency. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s biggest municipal utility, is setting the pace in the use of green hydrogen for electricity generation. Sunline Transit, […]

News Roundup: CPUC to Oppose Payday for Transmission Owners

3 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 State energy regulators are expected to soon ratify their staff’s formal opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March plan that would give transmission owners handsome payoffs for cybersecurity upgrades. The awards would come even if the businesses were already making the investments without the incentives. FERC proposes the changes to benefit […]

News Roundup: Trump Names Two FERC Nominees

28 Jul

After months of ignoring the Democrats’ nominee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while advancing the Republican choice for another, President Donald Trump July 27 accepted two prospective commissioners, one from each party. Democrats chose Allison Clements, and Republicans chose Mark Christie. “In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]

Sacramento Makes Bold Move to 100% Clean Power by 2030

20 Jul

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board voted unanimously the evening of July 16 for an extremely aggressive carbon neutral power target: 100% in just ten years. Previously the utility had aimed for 2040. California’s all out carbon neutral electricity mandate is set for 2045. “The threat of climate change is too great for anything short […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

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