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U.S. Senate Panel Probes Restarting Grid Post Blackout

11 Oct

Amid hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber threats, and a changing power generation resource mix, concerns are rising in Washington about the ability of the nation’s power industry to restore the grid after widespread blackouts. “The question we have to be able to answer,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

Analysis: Who Will Capture Value Behind-the-Meter

25 Sep

By Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, Ph.D. The evidence that the place to focus on in the future is mostly behind-the-meter (BTM) is gaining momentum. In early September, Energy Post published an extensive interview with Jan Vrins, managing director at Navigant, a consultancy. He said the much talked about energy transition, “… has already happened. We have […]

Juice: Small Trumps Big in the Legislature

25 Sep

Sacramento’s final legislative scorecard for 2018 shows that small-scale, localized, and free market approaches to the state’s electricity future were winners, while large-scale strategies based on continuing the dominant role of monopoly utilities were losers. The biggest harbinger of what the future is likely to look like was the failure of AB 813 by Assemblymember […]

OPINIONATED: Oil vs. Electricity?

4 Sep

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Oil vs. electricity is an odd comparison. The two are separate and unrelated forms of energy–with the possible exception of a few places where oil is still burned to generate electricity, such as in Saudi Arabia. While most people acknowledge the disproportionate dominance of oil relative to electricity in terms of supplying […]

Pasadena Plan Adds 150 MW of New Solar

27 Aug

Pasadena Water & Power rolled out its first integrated resources plan under SB 350 to a standing room only crowd Aug. 23. It promises to cut greenhouse gases 91 percent from their 1990 level and provide customers with power that’s at least 63 percent renewable by 2039. Under the draft plan, the muni will not […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Undercurrents

17 Jul

The state’s investor-owned utilities will release their second quarter earnings statements later this month, and the results likely will be mixed. Pacific Gas & Electric announced that it expects to post a big loss. There is no indication, however, that the other two utility holding companies, Edison International and Sempra Energy, will do so. PG&E […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

Edison’s Controversial Local Clean Energy Deals Win Approval

12 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to allow Southern California Edison to recover more than $300 million from ratepayers for 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements slated for the constrained western Los Angeles sub-basin. “This will drive market transformation,” said Mike Picker, CPUC president, during the agency’s July 12 business […]

The Buzz

6 Jul

It was not just happy 4th of July, but also happy 3rd of July for many. There were mini fireworks after the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee sent the 100 percent clean energy bill to the Assembly Floor. SB 100 sets a 60 renewable mandate for 2030, with another 40 percent to come from big […]

JUICE: Creating the ISDN Grid

26 Jun

When I was a young reporter in Washington in the early 1980s covering the telecommunications industry, the policy vision was to unleash competition to advance technologies and eventually create what was called the Integrated Services Digital Network, or ISDN. ISDN was to become a single operating network through which all communications could flow—including phone calls, […]

Juice: Parsing AB 813

19 Jun

Suddenly, all eyes are turned toward the likely prospect California lawmakers will soon enable a regionalized western power grid and wholesale market. Regionalization was on the table a few years ago, but progress largely faltered on concerns it would enable more coal power to flow into California, confounding the state’s march to decarbonize its economy. […]

The Buzz

8 Jun

The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators’ door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos. Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed […]

Juice: Picker’s Picks

5 Jun

Editor’s note: Like Grateful Dead archivist Dick Latvala “picked” the band’s most energetic concerts for release as albums in his “Dick’s Picks” recordings, California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker picks the best resources to release energy to the Los Angeles basin’s grid to keep the area rockin’. A proposed decision to deny Southern California […]

Utilities Seek Max Return on EV Charging Program

17 May

Utility regulators came under heavy pressure this week to throw out a proposed decision authorizing California’s investor-owned electric utilities to spend some $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. During an all-parties meeting May 17, following the California Public Utilities Commission’s vote postponement on the proposal earlier this month, utilities complained it […]

Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

JUICE: CPUC Sees Crisis, But Offers No Solutions

7 May

Last week’s California Public Utilities Commission white paper on customer choice signals a potential crisis developing in the state’s electric power industry. “We are seeing some of the same trends that preceded the last energy crisis in California,” according to the CPUC. They include what the commission calls: Fragmented decision-making; Poorly coordinated resource procurement to […]

CPUC to Develop CA Power Restructuring Plan

3 May

In the midst of related proceedings, California utility regulators called for a statewide conversation about the future structure and regulation of the power industry May 3. They continued to warn about the proliferation of customer-owned solar systems, community choice aggregation, and other developments that threaten to destabilize traditional utilities and electric grid reliability in California. […]

Shorts

25 Apr

Votes on competing decisions to provide subsidies for installing solar rooftops in disadvantaged communities were postponed by the California Public Utilities Commission April 25. Both decisions would provide $10 million/year to the Disadvantaged Communities Solar Homes program, funded by revenue from the Air Resources Board’s carbon allowance market auction. Also included in both decisions is […]