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9 Oct

A 40 year-old law that requires utilities to buy power from renewable generators and co-generators should be waived in states with competitive solicitation requirements and other measures that ensure all technologies access to the power market. That’s the recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a new white paper from the National Association of […]


29 May

Updated May 31. Utility regulators voted to shorten the timelines for correcting utility line and pole safety violations under California Public Utilities Commission General Order 95 Rule 18. Under the May 31 CPUC decision, the allowable time for correcting violations will be cut from 59 to 36 months. In addition, one class of minor violations […]

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 […]

The Buzz

23 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted big time reforms to increase gas power plant generator revenues and curb speculation in the transmission congestion market. Pacific Gas & Electric was chastised for balking at complying with the CPUC’s order to sign contracts for biomass projects to help reduce the huge number of dead trees. Biomass got  a […]

CEC Funds Biomass Project in Mariposa County

21 Mar

Mariposa County will become the site of a small biomass-fed power plant that will add 2.4 MW of local generation capacity to the area and help facilitate removal of dead pine trees. The huge numbers of dead trees in the area create a fire hazard and threaten to fall into homes. The Commission also provided […]


28 Nov

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission appointee Richard Glick was sworn in Nov. 29. Glick, a Democrat, was senior policy advisor for the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee minority members. He, along with Kevin McIntyre, a Republican and pending FERC chair, were vetted by that panel on Sept. 7. Both were confirmed by the Senate […]


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 […]

Private Utilities Report 3,100 MW of Qualifying Facilities

13 Sep

The 40-year old federal law mandating that private utilities buy power from independent producers, which was once center stage, is back stage in California today. That’s largely because of the state’s renewables mandate and improved interconnection. Today, investor-owned utilities continue to purchase power from independent small renewable and cogeneration projects under state regulatory programs established […]

Cap-&-Trade Impacts Poor Neighborhoods

6 Jul

How to ensure both greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants are reduced in struggling polluted communities was the focus of a Joint Legislative Climate Change Policies Committee hearing held July 5. The panel members seek “to understand what is happening, and what work needs to be done,” said chair Assemblymember Edward Garcia (D-Coachella). While overall […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

CPUC Backs SoCal Gas CHP Plan

23 Oct

SoCal Gas can get into the small-scale combined heat and power business under a decision approved by the California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 22 as long as plants it builds and operates on utility customer premises are shareholder funded and no bigger than 20 MW. (more…)

CPUC Lowers Emissions Cap for Cogen Deals

12 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 11 unanimously approved tightening the greenhouse gas cap beginning in 2020 for combined heat and power projects under contract with the investor-owned utilities to 2.72 million metric tons a year. That is well below the 4.8 million metric tons/year approved as part of a complex cogeneration settlement in 2012. […]

Bill Promoting Distributed Generation Advances

17 Apr

A state Assembly panel backed contentious legislation April 13 to incentivize distributed generation by eliminating a portion of the fees paid to utilities for businesses that decide to produce their own power. (more…)

COGito…..NEM and Transactive Energy – A New Utility Paradigm

20 Oct

Analysis and Insights by Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, Ph.D., President, Menlo Energy Economics Solar vs. Non-solar Customers The answer is outside the proverbial box The power industry is undergoing significant change at an accelerated rate. This means that many of the concepts that traditionally made perfect sense, no longer do. Moving forward, many of the time-tested principles […]

Risky Business Report Highlights Economic Damage from Climate Change

5 Jul

This week the unusual bipartisan coalition of business and political leaders known as the Risky Business Project released “Risky Business – The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States.” The analysis uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected […]

Smart Grid, Passive and Active Solar, Electric Vehicles, V2G, Energy Efficiency, Microgrid and More in One Place

4 Apr

On March 25th at the University of California Davis campus an iPad was touched and the Honda Smart Home (HSH) was officially open. This state-of-the-art dwelling is a collaborative effort between American Honda Motor Company and UC Davis. Located on the newly constructed West Village part of the campus, the project brings to real life […]

Tom Steyer, Climate Activist, to Inject $100 Million into 2014 Campaigns

20 Feb

Tom Steyer, best known to readers of COG as the principal financial supporter of California’s 2012 Proposition 39, is planning to inject $100 million into the 2014 election cycle, reported the New York Times. (more…)

Energy Commission Study Analyzes DG Integration Costs

5 Dec

The Energy Commission released on December 3rd a consultant study, performed by Navigant Consulting, to address the highly variable costs to interconnect renewable distributed generation. The study is entitled “Distributed Generation Integration Cost Study”  and the primary authors are Eugene Shlatz, Nathan Buch, and Melissa Chan. (more…)

Zucchini Anyone?

20 Nov

A few of the articles selected for the “Press Releases Plus” section of this COG Update may leave the reader with a vague sense of something generally good happening in some specific situation, but let’s connect some of the dots. Let’s start with Professor Borenstein’s November 12th post in the Energy Economics Exchange, which is […]

New ACEEE Report Examines CHP Value

20 Jul

A new report released July 18 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is designed to help utilities, policymakers, regulators, and end-users better appreciate and understand the immense value Combined Heat and Power (CHP) can offer to an energy system.  “Utilities and the CHP Value Proposition” by Anna Chittum and Kate Farley describes the […]