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CAISO Raises Pay for Replacement Power, Inches Up Budget

14 Dec

The grid operator’s board Dec. 14 approved allowing more flexible resources to come online soon after unexpected transmission disruptions. The newly approved modeling enhancement at issue also would increase the compensation paid to resources that come online quickly to rebalance the system. “This has the potential to increase reliability and reduce costs,” said Eric Hildebrandt, […]

New Western Grid Entity on Horizon

14 Dec

While California Independent System Operator efforts to formally expand into a western-wide grid manager largely have been hamstrung by governance issues, a new entity is exploring launching a western transmission organization. It would compete with possible CAISO and Southwest Power Pool expansions. At the end of last week, Peak Reliability, the reliability coordinator for the […]

Proposal To Replace Calpine RMR Deals with Storage & Alt Energy

13 Dec

A California Public Utilities Commission resolution released Dec. 8 would direct Pacific Gas & Electric to contract next year for sufficient local energy storage and preferred resources to ensure that the reliability-must-run contracts the grid operator entered with three Calpine plants are not renewed after 2018. The California Independent System Operator last month approved one-year […]

PG&E Pitches Replacing Oakland Plant with Clean Power

6 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric is proposing to swap out the 40-year old natural gas-fired power plant owned by Dynegy in Oakland with up to 40 MW of local alternative power supplies and a utility substation upgrade. PG&E wants the California Independent System Operator to approve its plan to develop local clean energy resources, including energy […]

Wildfire Triggers Transmission Outage in Moorpark Sub-Area

5 Dec

Strong Santa Ana winds fanned wildfires in Southern California, causing a power outage to some 70,000 people in Ventura County the evening of Dec. 4. By the morning of Dec. 5, Southern California Edison had restored power to 50,000 people by “rerouting and recircuiting” power, said utility spokesperson Mary Ann Milbourn. The utility said later […]

Financial Firms Pocket Congestion Revenue Rights Rent

29 Nov

Californians are losing money to the financial industry in the state’s wholesale electricity market through a practice known as financial trading, which some say allows financial companies to collect rents by participating in wholesale power markets without adding value. The loss amounts to $75 million a year, a California Independent System Operator official told a […]

Undercurrents

29 Nov

The Bonneville Power Administration is keeping an eye on how flows of electricity to California and others in the grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market might affect its ability to provide reliable power to the Pacific Northwest. Russell Mantifel, Bonneville EIM access program manager, outlined the effort in a presentation Nov. 28 at the Regional EIM […]

Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov

California regulators and policymakers say they want to see increases in demand response to reduce peak load and help balance out intermittent renewable resources. Despite the lip service, the amount of negawatt capacity reaped from the residential and commercial/industrial sectors has fallen since 2011, particularly from third-party aggregators working with the investor-owned utilities. “There is […]

Shorts

21 Nov

The grid operator won a national award for demonstrating that solar plants equipped with smart inverters can provide a variety of grid reliability services. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners last week gave the California Independent System Operator, First Solar, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the “Utility Industry Innovative Pilots or Demonstration Projects […]

CAISO May Cancel PG&E 230 kV Project, Add Intertie Data Devices

16 Nov

Grid operator staff noted a shift in planning focus from whether a proposed high voltage project is needed for traditional reliability to whether it will advance renewables integration during a Nov. 16 meeting on the preliminary 2018-19 transmission plan. As part of addressing the impact of intermittent renewables, California Independent System Operator staff said it’s […]

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 […]

CPUC Rolls Out CA Power System Resource Plan

2 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission laid out its goals for the upcoming integrated resource planning process to guide future procurement of power resources towards a lower carbon future. Under the integrated resource planning process, said CPUC staff member Forest Kaser, the reference plan aims to identify the least-cost approach to meeting the state’s 2030 greenhouse […]

CAISO Okays Resource Adequacy Alternatives With Reservations

2 Nov

The grid operator’s board approved two controversial matters aimed at filling in gaps in the resource adequacy market to keep financially struggling generation assets, which are deemed needed in the short-term, online. In spite of significant concerns, the California Independent System Operator Board voted unanimously for a 2018 reliability-must-run contract for Calpine’s 602 MW Metcalf […]

Beyond Grid Regionalization

27 Oct

The public talk about expanding the footprint of California’s grid focuses on going  west-wide, but conversations about alternatives, albeit smaller scale, are growing. There is a range of possibilities for allowing neighboring western states to trade power more fully in and out of California’s wholesale energy trading market and better sharing non-fossil-fueled energy resources to […]

JUICE: Grid Familiarity

24 Oct

If California becomes part of a western grid, is the vehicle important? Specifically, is it better for the California Independent System Operator to formally grow or for western states to join an expanded Southwest Power Pool? While nobody expects the Southwest Power Pool to ever reach California, there’s growing concern about the pool expanding into […]

Winter Power Supply Looks Good, FERC Says

23 Oct

California will have an adequate supply of natural gas and electricity this winter, with gas prices down slightly from last year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2017-18 winter energy assessment. “Fuel and electricity demand likely will be moderate this winter,” Alan Haymes, FERC economist, said Oct. 19. Moderate demand is expected, he said, […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

Grid Regionalization Is on Western Horizon

20 Oct

The Southwest Power Pool’s westward expansion into Colorado is upping the ante on regionalizing the grid farther west. “Every western utility is thinking regionally, and about grid expansion,” Dave Olsen, California Independent System Operator board member, said at CAISO’s annual symposium held midweek in Sacramento. SPP, which covers 14 states in the Central U.S., recently […]

Turning the Duck into Bucks

19 Oct

Excess intermittent renewable power pouring into transmission and distribution lines, once viewed as a big liability, is now seen as an opportunity by the grid operator. “What a great problem to have, lots of low-cost renewable energy,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of renewable integration, said during CAISO’s annual symposium held Oct. […]

Shorts

18 Oct

The grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members during the third quarter this year. Benefits since the western imbalance market began in 2014 now total $254.98 million, according to the California Independent System Operator on Oct. 18. The grid operator also said that carbon emissions from the […]