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The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]

FERC Orders PG&E Transmission Settlement

17 May

Federal energy regulators May 17 ordered Pacific Gas & Electric to reach a settlement with eight organizations that complained last year about the utility’s rates for transmitting power. At issue is more than $500 million of potential utility overcharges. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the order without comment as part of its consent calendar […]

JUICE: Timing

15 May

Timing is everything. Thus, it is noteworthy that it’s optimal timing to increase the amount of hydropower imports from the Bonneville Power Administration into California. This option has been talked about for a few years, but now the needles on California’s legal, policy and resources compasses point northwest. If the capacity of the lines carrying […]

Shorts

15 May

SoCal Gas showcased a new solar-powered hydrogen generation system May 17. It uses sunlight to convert natural gas and water into hydrogen and capture the carbon dioxide to prevent carbon emissions. The project is a partnership between SoCal Gas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the STARS Corp. The solar advanced reactor system “produces hydrogen through […]

CASIO Warns of Potential Summer Grid Emergency

10 May

Though power demand will be about the same this summer as last, California’s grid operator warns that electricity supplies will be diminished due to lower levels of hydropower production after a dry winter and the retirement of natural gas power plants. The California Independent System Operator May 9 forecasted a 50 percent chance of a […]

Agencies Zero In on SoCal Reliability

9 May

Expected energy supply strains this summer in Southern California was the focus of a joint agency hearing held May 8. The key concern is gas supply crimps, primarily because of the shutdown of four damaged pipelines that import gas into the region. The capacity of the gas pipeline system is projected to be about 500 […]

FERC Drills Down on High Utility Transmission Costs

1 May

Federal regulators May 1 heard conflicting views about whether California’s investor-owned utilities have been unfairly skirting review requirements for major investments in their power transmission lines, which may be driving up electricity costs. “Ratepayers are paying significant amounts of money for expenditures with no review whatsoever,” Katharine Mapes, Northern California Power Agency attorney, complained to […]

Shorts

1 May

The California grid operator virtually kept unchanged its local capacity requirement forecast for 2019-2023.  During a short May 1 call with stakeholders, California Independent System Operator staff said that the total 2019 local capacity requirement increased by a mere 37 MW, or by less than 1 percent. For 2023, the local capacity projected need fell […]

Bills to Aid Gas Plants, School Energy Bills & Reduce Building Emissions Advance

26 Apr

Measures to increase payments to needed, but struggling gas power plants in California, to assess how to increase the use of electric air and space heating in homes, and to extend intervenor compensation to schools were sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed these and other energy bills April […]

JUICE: Return to the Ike Age?

24 Apr

Federal energy regulators last week agreed to examine how to streamline the permit process for building natural gas pipeline projects. The review comes at a time when gas production has outstripped tepid national demand and turned the U.S. into a gas exporter for the first time since Dwight D. Eisenhower lived at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. […]

The Buzz

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agrees to rules increasing transparency on above market payments grid operators make to uneconomic resources, and getting interconnection agreements in gear. They also open the door to input on their problematic natural gas pipeline permitting process. In addition to shining a light on “uplift” payments for resources that can’t recover […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

FERC Kills CAISO’s Protection of Designated Gas Plants

18 Apr

The California Independent System Operator’s proposal to increase payments to gas power plants deemed needed for reliability, but lacking supply cushion contracts, was rejected by federal energy regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the California grid operator’s proposed capacity procurement mechanism tariff was “unjust and unreasonable.” FERC found that because the grid operator’s […]

FERC to Scrutinize CA Power Transmission Costs

17 Apr

Federal energy regulators are considering complaints that Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison evaded federal transmission planning standards to pump up their charges. The dispute comes at the same time that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress this week that grid operators like the California Independent System Operator need to do a […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Consideration of a ballot measure to mandate that San Diego Gas & Electric serve only green energy to the City of San Diego if it wants a renewed franchise agreement was sent back to go. Leading gubernatorial Republican candidates challenge the recently enacted gas tax hike and the bullet train. Democratic governor hopefuls want to […]

CAISO Pitches Reliability Coordination Terms

9 Apr

The California grid operator outlined its proposal to become a western reliability coordinator, replacing Peak Reliability, starting the fall of 2019. The California Independent System Operator initially announced its plan Jan. 3 in response to the expected departure of Mountain West Transmission Group from Peak Reliability and the resulting rise in Peak’s services costs. Becoming […]

The Buzz

29 Mar

Facing massive liability lawsuits for its potential role in igniting wildfires that scorched Santa Rosa and other Wine Country communities last fall, Pacific Gas & Electric argues it’s not subject to claims based on the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation. With hot weather just around the corner, state regulators order SoCal Gas to quickly fill […]

Moorpark-Pardee Transmission Project Okayed Despite Doubts

27 Mar

A transmission line upgrade to serve the constrained Moorpark area came under fire just before it was approved by the grid operator as part of its 2017-18 transmission plan. Critics expressed doubts over whether the new line actually would improve reliability in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. NRG Market Affairs Director Brian Theaker said the […]

JUICE: State Bills Focus on Changing Energy Landscape

27 Mar

Key legislation would deal with how and when private utilities can recover from ratepayers the cost of wildfires, prohibit state energy regulators from halting natural gas hookups and safeguard select gas-fired power plants. But, the talk of the town is the revised measure to allow California’s grid operator to expand. Closed door negotiations are ongoing […]

FERC Pact Slashes Tab for Calpine Reliability Deals

26 Mar

The cost of the controversial reliability must run contracts the grid operator signed with Calpine last year was substantially cut under a settlement approved by federal energy regulators. Calpine’s annual revenue cost for its 605 MW Metcalf plant in San Jose was reduced from a proposed $72.46 million to $43 million under an agreement between […]