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The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Undercurrents

16 Jan

The world’s energy supply increasingly is being dominated by solar and wind technologies, the International Energy Agency told U.S. lawmakers. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Jan. 16 that by 2040 renewable technologies will produce 40 percent of the world’s electricity. Solar will dominate the march of […]

Wildfire Triggers Transmission Outage in Moorpark Sub-Area

5 Dec

Strong Santa Ana winds fanned wildfires in Southern California, causing a power outage to some 70,000 people in Ventura County the evening of Dec. 4. By the morning of Dec. 5, Southern California Edison had restored power to 50,000 people by “rerouting and recircuiting” power, said utility spokesperson Mary Ann Milbourn. The utility said later […]

Zero Net Energy Construction Goal Faces Critical Review

30 Nov

The state’s much vaunted strategy to require that all new homes built beginning in 2020 are zero net energy is being re-examined as the California Energy Commission begins to set building codes to enforce the goal. A key development that may weigh on the future of zero net energy is a new study that claims […]

Undercurrents

1 Nov

As cooler temperatures take hold in Southern California, SoCal Gas is warning of energy supply risks in the coming season due to limitations placed on its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that reopened earlier this year. SoCal Gas President Bret Lane outlined the concerns in an Oct. 30 letter to the California Energy Commission […]

No Clear Path to More Consumer Choice

1 Nov

California utility regulators ongoing struggle with how to create more customer choice in electricity was not alleviated during a workshop held in the state capital building this week. At the end of the day, few concrete proposals emerged from various industry stakeholders’ differing, but largely piecemeal perspectives. The Oct.31 meeting was the second that the […]

Brown Wraps Up Bill Signing

16 Oct

Among the last of the energy measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on or before the Oct. 15 deadline are ones promoting greater reliance on clean resources to meet power needs in Los Angeles in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage incident and advance rooftop solar energy systems. Brown signed SB 801 […]

Puente Project Gets Shot Down

6 Oct

NRG’s construction license application for its 261 MW Puente natural gas-fired project on the beach in Ventura County was blown out of the water Oct. 6. “On the record currently before us, we are unwilling to override the significant impacts or [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] inconsistencies” posed by the project, states the proposed decision […]

Undercurrents: $1.5 B Electric Vehicle Spending Plan Advances

4 Oct

The California Air Resources Board’s meeting laying a plan to allocate almost $1.5 billion in the coming year to advance electrification of transportation and a variety of mobile equipment used in the freight shipping industry drew a big crowd on Oct. 4. The blueprint includes $663 million of carbon emissions rights auction money raised by […]

Energy Bills Signed

3 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a half dozen energy-related measures into law, including ones to promote energy storage, enhance utility safety, temper utility service disconnections for non-payment, and further reform the California Public Utilities Commission. Brown vetoed one bill that would have dedicated a utility penalty for sparking a wildfire to fire prevention and fighting efforts. […]

Undercurrents: Long-term Nuclear Waste Disposal Remains Stalled

26 Sep

State and local representatives pressed for federal solutions to the problem of mounting radioactive waste at nuclear power plants, including the closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, during a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, & Environment Sept. 26. David Victor, chair of the SONGS Community Engagement Panel, told the […]

Shorts

25 Sep

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposal to facilitate aggregated energy storage and distributed energy resources to participate in wholesale power markets has drawn wide support in comments filed on the federal agency’s proposal, according to an analysis released Sept. 27 by the Solar Electric Power Alliance and the Edison Electric Institute. However, the two organizations’ […]

Undercurrents: Storage Too Costly for Many Munis

21 Sep

As publicly owned utilities are set to establish their 2020 goals for complying with a state law meant to encourage electricity storage in California, many likely are to again defer storage system purchases. Lawmakers passed AB 2415 in 2010 to get the state’s electric utilities to install systems to store excess renewable energy and use […]

JUICE: Post Mortem

19 Sep

The most significant state energy bills of the year stopped breathing the final week of this legislative session. Legislation to set a 100 percent carbon free-power mandate for California by 2045, with the last 40 percent from large hydro, failed to come up for a vote before the wee hours of Sept. 16, the session’s […]

The Buzz

31 Aug

A week that began with record heat and a near record demand for power ends even hotter with a forecast of a new all-time record peak demand for electricity in California. The grid operator calls for conservation. PG&E calls for flashlights. Decentralized solar energy coupled with storage and smart controls can lower the cost of […]

Decentralized Solar Posed to Cut Grid Costs, Report Finds

31 Aug

Decentralized solar coupled with onsite battery storage can reduce strain and costs in maintaining the electrical grid, according to a report commissioned by Sonoma Clean Power that was released Aug. 31. Dubbed “Solar+,” the report said that sufficiently-sized solar systems coupled with storage on a decentralized basis also can serve new power demand as people […]

Lawmakers Zero In on Clean Energy Job Training

31 Aug

Amid frustration about the limited economic contribution of green technology to date, state legislators focused on how to leverage the transition to a clean energy economy into economic and workforce development opportunities during an Aug. 31 hearing. “Imperial County has hit a 24 percent unemployment rate, higher than any other county in the state,” said […]

CPUC Okays New SDG&E Peak Period

24 Aug

State energy regulators unanimously approved the second phase of San Diego Gas & Electric’s 2016-19 general rate case, which includes a shift in the time-of-use peak period and off peak rates. The redesign is part of SDG&E’s allocation of its approved triennial revenue requirement. “Time-of-use rates acknowledge we have an eclipse every day,” Mike Picker, […]

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 […]

The Buzz

28 Jul

The California Independent System Operator seeks to widen the route to the state’s wholesale electricity market for demand response. Microgrids promise benefits, but first the California Energy Commission says numerous speed bumps must be removed to make them more commonplace. The grid operator seeks to head off the potential for sudden loss of large amounts […]