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FERC Reiterates Support for Storage, Sees Solid Summer Supply in CA

16 May

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 3-1 vote cast May 16 denied a rehearing request of its orders seeking to advance participation of energy storage technologies in wholesale power markets. The orders included prohibiting states from not feeding their storage resources into the wholesale market. “Energy storage,” said Neil Chatterjee, FERC chair, “has the […]

High Hydro A Boon to Grid this Summer

15 May

The abundant precipitation and above average snow water content this winter means lots of hydropower this summer, leading to a “very low probability” of grid system shortages, the California Independent System Operator reported May 15. The snow content reaching 162 percent of average means “very robust hydro this year,” Bob Emmert, CAISO interconnection resources manager, […]

Opinionated:To CPE or Not To CPE

14 May

By Steven Kelly After many years of work, the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year finally adopted a multi-year resource adequacy program to help ensure grid reliability. Now, the CPUC is considering additional changes to the adopted framework, particularly the insertion of a “central procurement entity” to mitigate the risk that the California Independent […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

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 […]

CAISO Transmission Plan Focuses on PG&E

28 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric needs to build 11 transmission projects in its territory at an estimated cost of $607 million to maintain reliable power service, according to the California Independent System Operator. Two others are needed to hold down the costs of power for its customers, raising the tab to as high as $644 million. […]

The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

FERC Democrats Challenge Agency’s Scant Climate Analyses

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators March 21 criticized their agency’s shortcomings in considering upfront the greenhouse gas impacts of commission-approved projects. “We are creating litigation risks by putting our heads in the sand,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. She highlighted a March 20 federal D.C. District Court ruling that blocks oil and gas drilling […]

The Buzz

17 Jan

State energy agencies are delving into natural gas and electricity price spikes in Southern California. One major SoCal Gas supply pipeline remains out of service after it burst in 2017, while two other major utility pipelines are operating at reduced capacity due to age deterioration. Lawmakers and the governor are not rushing to any conclusions […]

CAISO Soon to Become West’s Electricity Reliability Coordinator

15 Jan

California’s grid operator has entered agreements with 32 of 39 electricity balancing authorities in the West to begin providing reliability coordinator services this summer in place of Peak Reliability, the current provider. “After a year of intensive planning and coordination, the ISO will now focus on developing technology and integrating systems to meet our July […]

Undercurrents: PG&E is up Against a Liability & Ratings Wall

8 Jan

With Pacific Gas & Electric facing ever growing liability for the last two years of devastating fires, all bets are off as to what it will do to stay afloat. Among the options on the table is a possible sale of its natural gas division. According to an NPR news report Jan. 7, this proposal […]

CAISO Sets Level Budget & Looks to New Appointees in 2019

13 Dec

The grid operator’s newly approved budget for the coming year sets a revenue requirement of $193.5 million. It is 2 percent lower than the adopted requirement for 2018. At its final meeting of the year held Dec. 13, the California Independent System Operator’s board of governors also outlined goals for the coming year, particularly to […]

CA’s Grid Faces Growing Fire Danger

28 Nov

Fire risks are expected to significantly rise in the Northern California foothills and Sierra Nevada Mountains by the end of the century, increasing threats to transmission systems, said Larry Dale of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and coauthor of a new report on fire and climate risks in California. Fire impacts to the grid are […]

PG&E Outlines Reason for Not Turning Off Power

28 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric decided not to shut off power in Butte County and other areas of its service territory on Nov. 8 after the start of the state’s most destructive blaze in history, the Camp Fire. By around 1 p.m. on Nov. 8, the high winds in the area had decreased. Thus, the utility […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Warns of GHG Reduction Shortfall

26 Nov

California’s hopes of meeting its 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal by 2030 are fading, according to a report by the California Air Resources Board dated November 2018. The progress report on the state’s efforts to achieve sustainable community development under SB 375 shows state residents are driving more. That’s particularly true for working […]

FERC Works to Ensure Energy Customers Benefit from Tax Savings

15 Nov

Federal energy regulators took action this week to require the electricity and natural gas industries to pass along tax savings resulting from the 2017 federal tax reform bill. “The goal of the whole thing is to get tax savings back into the hands of consumers as soon as possible,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur […]

CAISO Aims for 15-Minute Day-Ahead Market

14 Nov

The grid operator adopted additional enhancements to its interconnection process Nov. 14, including requiring wind and solar generators to install inverters in new projects or upgraded inverters in existing facilities so they continue to operate during transmission line voltage faults. The California Independent System Operator’s action this week also incorporated two other improvements into its […]

High, Hot Winds Prompt Utilities to Shut Off Power

15 Oct

Strong winds across wide stretches of California moved electric utilities Oct. 14 to turn off power in several areas to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires. The shut offs were preceded by notices of possible power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 17,500 customers in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, and more than 42,000 […]

U.S. Senate Panel Probes Restarting Grid Post Blackout

11 Oct

Amid hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber threats, and a changing power generation resource mix, concerns are rising in Washington about the ability of the nation’s power industry to restore the grid after widespread blackouts. “The question we have to be able to answer,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural […]

The Buzz

4 Oct

California’s big three investor-owned energy utilities are hit with credit downgrades. Their borrowing pains would be a lot higher but for enactment of SB 901. In spite of all the pro-electric vehicle effort and rhetoric in the state, the California Energy Commission slashes its spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology […]