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Utilities & Community Choice Beat Renewables Target

14 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities exceeded the 25 percent alternative energy mandate set for 2016 and are expected to have half their energy portfolios supplied by eligible renewable resources by 2020. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission report submitted to the Legislature Nov. 13. The state’s community choice aggregators together exceeded last year’s mandate, […]

Generator Earnings Generally Lower

6 Nov

Independent generator earnings were generally down in the third quarter of 2017, except for bright spots at NextEra and Calpine, with the latter changing hands after ongoing losses. AES, which like most of its generating brethren, is moving to modernize a handful of once-through cooled plants along the Southern California coast, reported a fall in […]

Puente Project Gets Shot Down

6 Oct

NRG’s construction license application for its 261 MW Puente natural gas-fired project on the beach in Ventura County was blown out of the water Oct. 6. “On the record currently before us, we are unwilling to override the significant impacts or [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] inconsistencies” posed by the project, states the proposed decision […]

JUICE: Post Mortem

19 Sep

The most significant state energy bills of the year stopped breathing the final week of this legislative session. Legislation to set a 100 percent carbon free-power mandate for California by 2045, with the last 40 percent from large hydro, failed to come up for a vote before the wee hours of Sept. 16, the session’s […]

Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

Senate Panel Okays CPUC Appointees

23 Aug

The Senate Rules Committee voted narrowly to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s two recent appointees to the California Public Utilities Commission. In separate votes, lawmakers on the five-member panel voted 3-0 Aug. 23 to recommend the Senate approve the appointments of Martha Guzman Aceves and Cliff Rechtschaffen to the commission. Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), […]

Juice: While We Were Gone

21 Aug

No big breaking energy news occurred during our brief summer hiatus, but there were notable energy-related developments, including the release of cost estimates of using alternative clean energy resources in place of the Puente gas power project, a restart of the controversial Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump license proceeding, and a push by Southern […]

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 […]

CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

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 […]

CPUC Trims Utilities’ Return on Equity

13 Jul

Utility regulators July 13 cut the allowable return on equity for the state’s major investor-owned energy utilities between 0.05 percent and 0.15 percent for the years 2018 and 2019. The California Public Utilities Commission also promised to review the future allowable rate. The CPUC decision came this week on July 13 in response to a […]

Ventura Clean Power Alternatives Study Begins

22 Jun

The grid operator late last week agreed to study whether preferred resources—including renewable power and energy storage and efficiency—could be substituted for a proposed fossil fuel power plant in Oxnard to meet Ventura County’s power needs. Replacement power is necessary because two old power plants there are slated to shut down at the end of […]

Massachusetts Bests CA in Energy Efficiency

14 Jun

California’s three investor-owned utilities are among the nation’s top ten when it comes to energy efficiency programs, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy on June 14. The top two investor-owned utilities in the nation were Eversource and National Grid, which both operate in Massachusetts. Pacific Gas & Electric […]

CEC OKs Ventura Preferred Resources Study

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission agreed June 12 to have the grid operator study if Ventura County could meet an expected shortfall in local power supplies with preferred resources instead of a gas-fired power plant proposed on Oxnard’s beachfront. The study is to be completed by mid-July. “After years of fighting for clean air for Oxnard, […]

CEC Still Weighing Clean Resource Study for Ventura

6 Jun

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 8. The California Energy Commission soon will issue a written decision on whether to request the California Independent System Operator to examine if “preferred resources” can meet power reliability needs in Ventura County as an alternative to a new gas-fired power plant. Energy Commission Hearing Officer Paul Kramer […]

JUICE: Beyond a Bud Light Future in EV Charging

24 May

The beer flowed May 19 in Sacramento after an all-day meeting on the future of “retail competition” in the California electric power industry. But when the waiters picked up the glasses and mopped up the suds little really had been settled. While other states abound with consumer choice in retail power plans—sporting such features as […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

SCE Labor Practices Impact Rates & Safety, Union Says

17 May

Southern California Edison’s 2018-2020 rate case has become embroiled in a labor dispute in which a major union says it’s been locked out of contracting jobs with the utility, which are on the upswing as the company focuses on improving its aging distribution system. Enhancing the safety of its distribution system, in which equipment failures […]

Edison Rate Hike

17 May

Southern California Edison’s proposed general rate case will raise the average bill of residential customers who use 600 kWh a month by $3.75 in 2018, another $5.65 in 2019, and then again by an additional $7.29 in 2020, according to California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Steve Roscow. By 2020, those who use 600 […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Faces $8 Million Penalty for Butte Fire

26 Apr

State regulators fined Pacific Gas & Electric $8.3 million for the Butte Fire sparked by a utility conductor. The Sept. 9, 2015, wildfire killed two people, injured one, and destroyed 549 homes, 4 commercial properties and 368 structures. The California Public Utilities Commission’s Safety & Enforcement Division found PG&E violated three of the commission’s general […]