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Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important month for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. At the federal level, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals July 10 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s […]

Less Demand and Cleaner Options Spell Lower 2019 Costs for CAISO

7 Jul

The California Independent System Operator saw a whopping 17% reduction in overall wholesale electricity market costs in 2019 compared to the year before, thanks to energy efficiency, the deployment of small renewables, more hydropower and less natural gas. Total energy costs last year were $8.8 billion, at an average $41 per megawatt-hour, compared to $10.8 […]

CA Gas Utilities Produce Cutting Edge Clean Biogas

23 Jun

SoCal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 22 a significant breakthrough in a new electrochemical technology that converts carbon dioxide in raw biogas to renewable natural gas that can be put into pipelines. It is a “critical improvement in the science of upgrading waste emissions to renewable gas,” according to the utilities. This […]

West Coast Utilities Propose Truck Charging Network

17 Jun

A coalition of utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to advance the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by installing public electric charging stations along a 1,300 mile stretch of Interstate 5.   The plan released June 17 proposes installing 27 charging stations, with up to 10 ports each, for medium-duty […]

The Buzz

11 Jun

After months of few energy items on the California Public Utilities Commission business meeting agendas, this week’s one is dense, and action packed. After honoring the death of George Floyd, the five utility regulators approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to install diesel-fueled generators to provide power during safety outages. The CPUC also signs off […]

Packed CPUC Agenda Includes Approving PG&E Diesel Backup

11 Jun

State utility regulators June 11 addressed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and continued systematic racism near and far, including at the California Public Utilities Commission. They also held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to remember Floyd’s death on May 25. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that while the five commissioners […]

Shutoffs, Microgrids & Digital Divide are the Focus of Passed Bills

27 May

Legislation to mitigate power shutoff impacts, and bolster microgrid installations to keep power flowing during and after fires, were passed by masked members of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee May 26. Also included in the small stack of bills approved at the Committee’s first public hearing since issuance of the stay-at-home orders are […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

Guest Juice: Blockchain for Bitcoin and DER

18 May

by Wayne Hicks A common vision for the future of California and the nation’s energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. Sounds great in theory. But how can […]

CPUC Proposal Prods Utilities to Remove Microgrid Hurdles

30 Apr

The three private utilities would be required to speed up and simplify their approvals of third-party backup systems in high fire threat zones and their interconnection to utility grids, under a California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision released April 29. However, it will not come up for a Commission vote before June 11. The proposal […]

The Number of Energy Bills Drop During Legislative Limbo

30 Apr

The longer state legislators remain away from Sacramento, the smaller the list of energy bills expected to be taken up when they return to the state capital. The stack of measures has diminished to roughly a dozen. The Assembly is scheduled to return May 4. The Utilities and Commerce Committee is set to meet May […]

Juice: Beyond Diesel Backup Generation and Blackouts

28 Apr

The use of clean-fueled microgrids to keep power flowing to vulnerable people and critical services—from safety to water supply—during upcoming fires and outages was the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the talk led to little action on installing these types of projects in high fire threat areas in California before wildfires start this year. Pacific […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

CPUC Strives to Wring Progress out of Pandemic

23 Apr

An April 23 workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission on Covid-19 and its fallout was a study in pain. Mounting numbers of state residents cannot pay their gas and electric bills. The range of energy businesses, from those in solar, to energy efficiency to transportation electrification, are suffering layoffs, lost business and financing, and […]

Two Fuel Cell Microgrids Set Up to Power Hospital Overflow

22 Apr

Two relatively low polluting microgrids came online in record time to add power to hospitals dealing with a surge of Covid-19 patients. Bloom Energy is the microgrid developer. The company installed a 400 kW fuel cell microgrid in a Vallejo hospital parking lot to handle patient overflow. The system takes up the space of three […]

Spotlight on Ratepayer Subsidies of Utility EV Charging Costs

22 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is examining two thorny questions central to the expansion of electric vehicles: How long should investor-owned utility ratepayers keep paying for the installation of new charging stations? And how long should the private utilities dominate the installations? The questions were the focus of an April 20 workshop. Intertwined with the […]

The Buzz

17 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agree to minor reductions in the bills of the ratepayers of the state’s two largest utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission votes for this no cost step advancing the climate dividend to alleviate financial pressures caused by the fallout of COVID 19. This dividend is often called a “climate credit.” While […]

Community Choice Roundup

16 Apr

Community energy representatives protested the pending California Public Utilities Commission decision putting the private utilities in charge of a centralized capacity market to buy supply cushions for a variety of energy providers. If adopted, the decision would conflict with “a key objective of the Commission’s reliability oversight,” which is to safeguard community energy’s “self-procurement autonomy,” […]

The Buzz

9 Apr

The Energy Commission approves city ordinances that beat state building efficiency rules. It applauds California cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The Commission also continues to dole out millions of dollars in grants at its first remote business meeting to promote cleaner food and beer production, offshore wind, renewable gas and safer natural […]

The Behind-The-Meter Frontier

9 Apr

Your home could also be your power plant, according to an April 7 article in Wired Magazine. It highlights a community housing project in Colorado that’s experimenting with advanced software that tracks the units’ solar power and directs it to where it’s needed—relaying it from those with surplus PV output to those that need more […]