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The Buzz

16 May

It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs. Utility regulators this week also […]

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 […]

Shorts

14 May

The Turlock Irrigation District in the Central Valley plans to join the Western Energy Imbalance market in 2021. It signed an agreement to become part of the California Independent System Operators’ real time market, the grid operator announced May 14. “TID’s participation in the energy imbalance market will lead to a greater utilization of our […]

Shorts

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]

Undercurrents

1 May

Updated May 2 The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal outlining the criteria and methodology for utilities to recovery wildfire expenses under SB 901 is being challenged by a group of stakeholders. Specifically being contested is staff’s restricted definition of “customer harm.” It fails to include “harm involved in the form of funds paid out […]

Shorts

29 Apr

Updated May 2 On a 36-0 vote, the State Senate confirmed Commissioner David Hochschild to the California Energy Commission May 2. He was appointed the chair of the agency by Gov. Gavin Newsom in February, replacing outgoing Chair Bob Weisenmiller. “Taking the helm of the Commission is both a great honor and responsibility during this […]

Cost of Bulk Storage Measure is Top Concern

24 Apr

Sparks flew in the state Capitol April 24 over a bill to require the grid operator to contract for up to 4,000 MW of large-scale, long duration storage capacity employing pumped storage and possibly other technologies. While the measure, SB 772 by Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena), was approved by the committee 8-1, lawmakers moved it […]

FERC Continues to Exclude GHG Impacts in Project Decisions

18 Apr

Two major liquefied natural gas facilities export projects in Texas and Louisiana were approved 3-1 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, although the decisions omit evaluations of their direct and cumulative greenhouse gas impacts. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who cast the decisive yes vote at the April 18 meeting, welcomed the projects and the decisions including […]

Edison Seeks Big Rise on its Return On Equity from FERC

11 Apr

Southern California Edison asked federal energy regulators April 11 for more than a 50 percent increase on its return on equity to help ameliorate the cost of its “extraordinary” wildfire liability. Edison seeks to raise its revenue requirement on federally regulated transmission lines from $1.038 billion to $1.328 billion annually, a 28 percent increase. That […]

Lawmakers Lukewarm on Central Procurement Bill

10 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 10 backed legislation to establish a central authority to serve as the state’s chief backstop power purchasing agent, but only after watering it down because of stiff opposition. Before this week’s hearing, Southern California Edison, publicly owned utilities, community choice aggregators, and some environmental groups, opposed the measure […]

Bill Bolstering Distributed Resources Advances

10 Apr

Legislation to promote distributed generation and battery storage with more favorable tariffs and grid interconnection process streamlining advanced through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee April 10. It was approved despite opposition from public and investor-owned utilities. The panel also approved two bills aimed at minimizing wildfire risk from power lines. SB 288 cleared […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid Part 2

10 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy 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 the action […]

Shorts

9 Apr

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week became a fully operational member of the grid operator’s energy imbalance market. SMUD is the first municipal utility to join the short-term market, which the California Independent System Operator created in 2014 to better integrate renewable power into the grid and to lower the overall cost of power. […]

Undercurrents: Electric Car Sales Show Strong Growth

9 Apr

Californians are buying electric vehicles at an increasing rate, according to sales data tracked by Veloz, a non-profit that aims to promote electric transportation. Sales of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles totaled 13,736 last month. So far this year dealers have racked up 30,745 in total sales of such models, an increase […]

The Buzz

4 Apr

Bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric announces a new slate of directors. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s former chief is named the new CEO, with final voting to take place at the end of May. California energy and waste regulators start to grapple with surging quantities of aging solar panels and batteries. Steps needed to avert a […]

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. […]

CAISO Addresses Backstop Procurement

28 Mar

In a marathon meeting March 27, the California Independent System Operator’s board approved several enhancements to the grid operator’s backstop power purchasing programs. They are employed to fill power supply gaps often in local areas. The grid operator also addressed the potential exercise of market power, particularly in the energy imbalance market. Before acting on […]

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 […]