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Direct Access Said to Threaten IOUs & Community Choice

23 May

The California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission met May 19 to better grasp how to reorient away from regulation of four private utilities, which are losing market share, to guiding the energy use of millions of disparate customers, including those joining public community choice programs. During the all-day joint commission meeting, the impact of […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

Regulators Struggle With Expanding Retail Choice

18 May

State energy regulators are wringing their hands over the flood of ratepayers moving to community choice programs and trying to create some order amid the chaos caused by the upending of the traditional role of private utilities and central planning. California is moving to a competitive retail market, notes a California Public Utilities Commission white […]

Beneficial Uses of Excess Power Supply Eyed

14 May

California will need increasing flexibility to maintain reliable power supplies on the grid as levels of renewable energy increase in the years ahead. However, while that’s currently viewed as a problem due to its close relationship to oversupplies of power on bright sunny afternoons it may represent a golden opportunity. That’s the picture that emerged […]

CEC Grants Big Clean Energy Bucks

10 May

The California Energy Commission approved more than $55 million in grants May 10 to promote less polluting ports, electric vehicles, alternative vehicle fuels and building energy efficiency. Two Southern California ports and the surrounding poor communities are to reap the benefits of a $25 million in grants for zero and low emission vehicles. The impact […]

Shorts

10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

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 […]

Shorts

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 […]

Making Way for Microgrids

26 Apr

Three energy agencies are working to smooth the way for microgrids in the state. “Microgrids are one of the solutions to help California meet its aggressive [climate protection] goals,” Mike Gravely, California Energy Commission deputy director, said during an April 25 joint agency workshop. The Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission and the California Independent […]

JUICE: Downsizing Gas Power

25 Apr

The day of reckoning is nigh for gas-fired power in California. A growing oversupply of power—created by California’s race to build renewable power plants— has depressed wholesale electricity prices to the point that operators often can’t bring in enough money to run gas plants day-to-day, much less cover the major maintenance work needed to keep […]

CEC Says Solar & Utility-Controlled Batteries Enhance Zero Net Homes

20 Apr

Storing excess solar power produced by residential photovoltaic rooftop systems, instead of sending it into the utility distribution system, increases the value of the produced energy. “What storage does is turn low value PV into high value PV,” said the California Energy Commission’s Mazi Shirakh during an April 20 workshop on 2019 zero net energy […]

JUICE: CA’s Stellar Energy

18 Apr

California’s head energy regulator went to Washington, D.C., last month to encourage Federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy scientists to come work for the Golden State to advance clean energy. His trip was in response to the Trump Administration’s move in the opposite direction. Part of Trump’s anti-clean energy plan includes slashing the […]

Climate Roundup: Low Carbon Fuel Rule Proposal Aims to Boost Biomethane

17 Apr

In a bid to cut methane emissions, the California Air Resources Board is seeking to stoke up use of biomethane produced at dairies and livestock yards from manure by giving more low carbon fuel standards credits to those who capture the gas and inject it into pipelines for use as a transportation fuel. Meeting April […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

CA Joins Suit Against DOE Over Efficiency Standards

13 Apr

The California Energy Commission took action after discussing pending litigation against the U.S. Department of Energy for delaying energy efficiency standards for numerous products during the closed session portion of its April 12 business meeting. The CEC chair authorized the chief counsel’s office to participate in litigation over the DOE’s stalling on  “effective dates and […]

Huntington & Alamitos Power Projects Are Off & Running

12 Apr

Two large replacement natural gas power plants along the Southern California coast were approved by the California Energy Commission midweek. AES’s scaled back 844 MW Huntington Beach and 1,040 MW Alamitos facilities were unanimously approved after the construction permits were amended to allow both projects to begin building immediately. Oddly enough, parties that fought the […]

CEC Aims to Help Utilities Adapt to Warming

11 Apr

Climate change is straining electric utility infrastructure, motivating the California Energy Commission and other state agencies to focus on actionable climate science research that utilities can use to adapt to global warming. “Climate adaptation is where we need to focus now,” Bob Weisenmiller, CEC chair, said during an April 11 meeting aimed at planning how […]

Top Ventura County Official Opposes Puente Power Project

5 Apr

The chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors told the California Energy Commission April 3 he opposes NRG’s plan to build the 271 MW gas-fired Puente Power Project at the site of its old Mandalay Generating Station in Oxnard. The dry-cooled Puente plant would replace the existing ocean water-cooled and inefficient Mandalay station, which […]

Undercurrents: U.S. 101 Going EV-Friendly

4 Apr

Several months after the California Energy Commission approved nearly $22.74 million in grants to install electric vehicle chargers along major highways up and down California, the first installations are expected along the North Coast. ChargePoint plans 11 EV charging installations along Highway 101 from Santa Rosa to the Oregon border. “The route is a priority […]

Assembly Panel Okays Two Energy Bills

30 Mar

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee March 29 advanced a bill that calls for some of the money in a research and development fund to be spent on projects in low-income areas suffering from air pollution. The panel also passed a second measure, which would exempt a rural electric cooperative from the state’s integrated resource […]