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31 Jul

The western Energy Imbalance Market produced $39.52 million in benefits in the second quarter of 2017 for the market participants, the grid operator reported July 31. Total benefits since the California Independent System Operator launched the EIM with PacifiCorp in 2014 were $213.24 million, with carbon emissions reductions of 28,700 metric tons from using 67,055 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]


26 Jun

The California Air Resources Board amended its rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions June 29. The board decided not to include the California Independent System Operator’s energy imbalance market in the rules. Instead, it said it will collect annual information on greenhouse gas emissions related to that market under a formal subpoena process. It made […]

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 […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Set to Adopt Interim Fix for Power Imports

31 May

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 1. For the past several years, the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies have struggled with how to capture emissions related to imports of power into California in the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program. They’ve chiefly focused on a problem originally called resource shuffling. The effort became […]

Copper, Silver or Gold Plating the Grid?

4 May

How to effectively protect the grid from a nuclear attack and other types of electromagnetic pulse threats is riddled with challenges—from cost to trust between private utilities and public agencies. Grid reliability can be better protected, however, with more distributed generation, noted Democratic lawmakers during a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on May […]

Undercurrents: Laying Ground Rules to Lessen Grid Insecurities

3 May

Energy regulators face myriad challenges in ensuring that state utilities adequately protect their substations, power lines and other energy infrastructure, from utility resistance to sharing sensitive information to impacts on ratepayer wallets. “Making sure the utilities are not overspending, and spending the right amount and in the right areas,” are key concerns, California Public Utilities […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]

Summer Eclipse May Triple Ramp Rate

2 May

A solar eclipse in August will test the state’s grid as it shades California’s growing number of utility-scale and rooftop solar systems. The eclipse is forcing the California Independent System Operator to plan needed contingency measures that could involve calling a flex alert to make up for a resource shortage. “We expect several thousands of […]

Clean Energy Groups Call for Open DOE Study

1 May

In response to Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s call for a study of how renewable energy is affecting grid reliability and power markets, three clean energy groups called on him to make sure the review is conducted through “a public process.” In a letter to Perry on May 1, Advanced Energy Economy, the American Wind Energy […]


27 Apr

The California Energy Commission approved a $390 million triennial EPIC investment plan April 27, pledging to fund research in areas considered critical to advancing the state’s clean energy aims. The plan for the Electric Program Investment Charge outlines investments the commission will make through the ratepayer funded program on projects from 2018-2020. Key objectives include […]

Power Oversupply Worsens, CAISO Says

20 Apr

California faces a rapidly growing oversupply of electricity primarily due to the growth of solar energy, according to the California Independent System Operator. Excess solar is creating steeper ramping requirements as the sun sets. “Everything’s turning out as we projected, just a little faster,” Mark Rothleder, CAISO senior vice president, told the Energy Imbalance Market […]

Grid Threatened by Communication Gaps, Panel Told

5 Apr

Protection against the increased vulnerability of the nation’s power infrastructure is hampered by delays in high-level security clearances for key government officials and other gaps in information sharing between private and public entities. American Gas Association President Dave McCurdy told the U.S Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee April 4 that he’s waited more than […]

Bills to Block Aliso Canyon & Power Disconnections & Expand Intervenor Compensation Advance

5 Apr

Legislation to keep SoCal Gas from refilling its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field until regulators complete a study on the key cause of the leak there passed the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee April 4. The panel backed the bill after the author agreed to amend it by giving the governor the authority […]

Undercurrents: SMUD Proposes ‘Time of Day’ Rates

21 Mar

After the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power boosted customer charges last month, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District is planning to follow suit. It’s proposing a 1.5 percent rate boost for residential customers next year and a 1.5 percent increase for non-residential customers in both 2018 and 2019. The state’s second largest municipal utility […]

Climate Roundup: Climate Change to Add Billion$ to Grid Costs

21 Mar

Increasing temperatures due to global warming could cost the nation up to $180 billion in additional capital costs for the power system to adequately serve peak demand by the end of the century, according to researchers at the University of California and Arizona State University. Peak power demand is likely to increase by up to […]

Bill Seeks to Improve Carbon Accounting for Unspecified Power

15 Mar

Legislation requiring the California Air Resources Board to better estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-powered electricity sent into California as unspecified resources passed its first committee hearing. The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee March 15 passed on an 8-5 vote AB 79 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County). The bill seeks to establish improved […]

CAISO Sees Little Need for New Transmission

15 Mar

The grid operator’s board March 15 approved a 2016-17 transmission plan, which calls for no new major facilities. It does approve two minor projects valued at $24 million to improve reliability for Southern California Edison. “Continuing the recent trend of prior transmission plans, the number and capital costs of recommended transmission projects in this 2016-2017 […]