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Opinionated: Charging With the Sun

19 Mar

By Severin Borenstein You aren’t getting “green electrons”, but charging at the right times still lowers GHG emissions. I spent a fascinating few days at the California Independent System Operator last month, following my appointment in January to the CAISO’s Board of Governors. The most exciting part was getting to visit the CAISO grid control […]

Assembly Panel Seeks Assurances of A Clean Affordable Future

7 Mar

An Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing centered on how to ensure California reliably and affordably decarbonizes it energy infrastructure at a time when the sector is going through a metamorphosis. “It is a difficult challenge and we have met the challenge to date,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of market quality […]

The Buzz

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s and Southern California Edison’s $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab. State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved its 2018 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update, which gives priority to building emissions reductions. The vote cast at the Feb. 20 business meeting, is “a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities,” according to Pierre Del Forge with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the push to boost energy efficiency, electricity from […]

CAISO Improves Interconnection Process

7 Feb

The California Independent System Operator Board Feb. 7 approved changes that aim to reduce the interconnection barriers generation and storage projects face. There are 288 active generation and storage projects in CAISO’s interconnection queue. The latest policy changes seek “to smooth the process for getting these projects online,” according to the grid operator.  The enhancements […]

Shorts

31 Jan

The West’s energy imbalance market saved electric utility customers $62.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 by finding purchasers for 23,425 MWh of surplus renewable energy that otherwise would have been curtailed, according to the California Independent System Operator on Jan. 31. Since the market— which facilitates short-term trades of excess power—began operating in […]

Undercurrents: EIM Governance Changes

28 Jan

Updated Jan. 31. The Energy Imbalance Market’s Governing Body late last week began discussing potential changes to its governance structure. Specifically, the grid operator wants the EIM Governing Body to assume primary authority for “changes to generally applicable rules of the real-time market if the primary driver for the change is EIM,” according to a […]

Newsom Shapes CA Energy Policy with New Appointments

23 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom is moving quickly to put his stamp on California’s energy market roiled by the bankruptcy of the state’s largest private utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. A little more than two weeks after he was sworn in, Newsom filled a vacancy at the California Public Utilities Commission with another woman of color. He […]

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 […]

Shorts

17 Dec

As the year ends, CAISO is still reviewing plans to close AES’s Redondo Beach power plant in the Los Angeles Basin. The 1,342 MW gas-fired power plant along the coast uses ocean water for cooling and must quit doing so under a state marine protection policy. AES plans to close the plant in two years […]

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 […]

JUICE: Flying a Jet Plane?

12 Dec

California may create a central power purchasing agency to fill gaps in the state’s electricity supply to ensure the grid remains reliable, and possibly to act as the provider of last resort. The state essentially did the same some 17 years ago with less than stellar results, though the circumstances were different. Out of the […]

CPUC Resource Adequacy Decision Pitches Small Reforms

6 Dec

A draft decision by two administrative law judges that may be adopted early in 2019 would keep investor-owned utilities in the driver’s seat in lining up contracts needed for resource adequacy on the grid, particularly in local areas where transmission is constrained. Under the draft decision quietly released for comment late last month, the California […]

CPUC Officials Warn of Growing Market Power

5 Dec

Golden State electric ratepayers could soon become victims of price manipulation, according to California Public Utilities Commission officials. “California is currently entering an era of tighter generation supplies than we have experienced in recent years,” wrote Commissioner Liane Randolph and CPUC Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch in a ruling last month. The ruling came in […]

Shorts

5 Dec

Updated Dec. 6. The U.S. Senate Dec. 6 confirmed Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 50-49 vote. McNamee’s nomination was controversial because of the role he played while at the U.S. Department of Energy, specifically entailing its proposal that FERC order subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants. McNamee “needs to […]

Shorts

18 Nov

Strategies for reducing the number of investor-owned utility power shutoffs are expected to be released next month, said California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. She headed a Nov. 19 workshop as part of the proceeding she is overseeing on how to reduce the number of disconnections and improve reconnections. Disconnections of residential ratepayers gas […]

The Buzz

15 Nov

California air regulators take initial steps on cap-and-trade program revisions to double greenhouse gas cuts in the decade ahead. The same day, a report is released that pushes land management changes to slash greenhouse gases in California. That includes improved forestry and woodlands management, slower conversion of natural lands and greener agriculture. At the nation’s […]

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 […]

Demand Response Rises, But Not in CA, Says FERC

13 Nov

Demand response in wholesale power markets across the U.S. grew 3 percent, or by 27,541 MW, between 2016 and 2017, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s annual update on demand response and advanced meters released last week. However, when breaking down the amount of demand response by the regional markets the picture was mixed. […]

Undercurrents: Solar Gets Thumbs Up, Gas & Coal a Thumbs Down

6 Nov

EDF Renewable’s proposed 500 MW photovoltaic project slated for public land in the desert of Riverside County was approved by the Bureau of Land Management. “The Palen Solar Project will provide benefits to the local community and the region both now and in the future, demonstrating the critical role multiple-use public lands play for the […]