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LADWP Moves Forward on Energy Storage

21 Aug

The nation’s largest municipal power utility committed to connecting 178 MW of electricity storage projects to its system over the next five years. The first project is a 20 MW battery system that will store excess power produced by major solar and wind projects in the Mojave Desert. Acting Aug. 16, the Los Angeles Department […]

Electric Cars & Solar Roofs Driving Energy Demand

3 Aug

California’s future demand for electricity from utilities—and to some extent natural gas—will hinge on how fast electric vehicles and solar rooftops advance in the marketplace, according to the California Energy Commission’s latest forecast. Solar and electric vehicles, according to Chris Kavalic, Energy Commission researcher, “make the most difference in our forecast.” The commission previewed its […]

CEC Seeks to Overcome Microgrid Hurdles

26 Jul

The California Energy Commission wants to unleash the power of microgrids to make the state’s electric system more resilient an adaptable as energy needs and technologies change. But first, it must figure out how to overcome significant obstacles. Microgrids, which generally consist of local distribution networks supplied by distributed generation resources and are often equipped […]

Undercurrents: Perry “Bullish” on LNG Exports

18 Jul

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Washington July 18 that he envisions the U.S., along with Canada and Mexico, becoming a dominant force in international energy markets. Perry voiced support for a continuing Department of Energy and government role in funding research and development of a wide range of technologies—from clean coal and nuclear […]

Opinionated: NREL at 40-It Started With a Desire to Harness the Sun

11 Jul

By Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier that the […]

CPUC Takes Time Weighing Utility EV Charging Plans

11 Jul

State energy agency officials on July 11 peppered utility representatives with questions about their plans to spend some $1 billion to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure up and down the state over the next five years. How the plans will advance public acceptance of electric vehicles and help meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals […]

The Buzz

7 Jul

Taking the “dis” out of disadvantaged communities was center stage for lawmakers and regulators this week.  Reversing the trend of rising climate emissions and co-pollutants in poor local neighborhoods was the focus of a joint legislative Climate Change Policy panel.  Meanwhile, the CPUC zeroed in on making environmental justice  energy programs just. The Utilities & […]

Decreasing Struggling Communities Energy Disadvantages

6 Jul

More location-based energy pilot projects, data collection, and language translations can help tackle environmental justice challenges facing disadvantaged communities, according to panelists at a California Public Utilities Commission July 6 hearing on the issue. “Today’s en banc is a first step in what I expect to be an extended process of deeper engagement around the […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

JUICE: China & CA Build the World We Want

3 Jul

Early in this decade, China was busy pursuing a plan to maximize its coal resources by building giant “coal bases” in its inland areas where the mineral is mined. I detailed the plan in a series of articles for Inside Climate News in 2014. China aimed to use its vast coal deposits, widely viewed as […]

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 Targets Smart Inverters’ Potential by 2020

3 Jul

A key to reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 12,000 MW of distributed energy resources by 2020 involves maximizing the use of smart inverters. Smart inverters “mitigate many of the traditional concerns associated with variable distributed energy resources,” like solar panels, Gabe Petlin, California Public Utilities Commission supervisor, said during a June 29 California Energy […]

Shorts

3 Jul

Volvo will sell only hybrid and pure electric powered vehicles beginning in 2019. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive, stated July 5. Volvo announced it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. The car […]

Ways to Advance Renewable Gas

27 Jun

State energy and environmental agencies June 27 heard a potpourri of ideas for building a market to sop up biomethane, which is currently produced and emitted to the atmosphere from dairies, sewage treatment plants, landfills, and other sources in California. Biomethane can be used as a renewable fuel to power vehicles, make electricity and displace […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]

Ventura Clean Power Alternatives Study Begins

22 Jun

The grid operator late last week agreed to study whether preferred resources—including renewable power and energy storage and efficiency—could be substituted for a proposed fossil fuel power plant in Oxnard to meet Ventura County’s power needs. Replacement power is necessary because two old power plants there are slated to shut down at the end of […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]

JUICE: Beyond Natural Gas Power

13 Jun

A confluence of developments casts significant doubt about the future of natural gas-fired power in California. While the rest of the nation—if you believe the new administration in Washington—is beating a path toward a vaunted fossil fuel renaissance, the Golden State is about ready to reach for 100 percent renewable power and could forgo building […]

Climate Roundup: Yanking of Methane Rule Challenged

6 Jun

A coalition of environmental groups brought a lawsuit June 5 to stop the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from halting new curbs on methane leaks from the oil and gas sector. Methane is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The petition, filed in the Court of Appeals […]

CEC Still Weighing Clean Resource Study for Ventura

6 Jun

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 8. The California Energy Commission soon will issue a written decision on whether to request the California Independent System Operator to examine if “preferred resources” can meet power reliability needs in Ventura County as an alternative to a new gas-fired power plant. Energy Commission Hearing Officer Paul Kramer […]