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Undercurrents

22 May

Recent decisions by federal energy regulators excluding consideration of the upstream and downstream greenhouse gas impacts of new gas pipelines raised alarm bells in and outside the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. None of the permits are for projects in the Western U.S., but the decisions show the bias of a majority of the commissioners to […]

The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]

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 […]

CAISO Limits Manual Forecast Adjustments

17 May

New record levels of solar energy are being set on a regular basis with the most recent one hitting 10,625 MW on May 7 at 12:22 p.m. Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator chief executive officer, also told his board May 16 that peak wind power records continue to be set, but far less frequently. […]

FERC Transmission Planning Process Criticized

10 May

Lawmakers May 10 heard various ideas about how to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of transmission projects across the U.S. in response to a changing energy industry. Strategies ranged from shrinking to expanding the federal transmission planning process. Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Member Tony Clark said at a House Energy & Commerce […]

Earnings Down for Two of Three IOUs

8 May

Utility earnings varied during the first quarter of 2018, with Sempra Energy up and Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric down compared to the first three months of 2017. Edison International: The parent company of Southern California Edison had lower earnings in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, with […]

FERC Drills Down on High Utility Transmission Costs

1 May

Federal regulators May 1 heard conflicting views about whether California’s investor-owned utilities have been unfairly skirting review requirements for major investments in their power transmission lines, which may be driving up electricity costs. “Ratepayers are paying significant amounts of money for expenditures with no review whatsoever,” Katharine Mapes, Northern California Power Agency attorney, complained to […]

The Buzz

27 Apr

Legislation to raise payments to needed gas power plants in California, to increase the use of home electric air and space heating, and to make school reps eligible for intervenor compensation make the cut. Midweek, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee sends these measures on to the next committee. Measures to bolster energy storage and […]

The Buzz

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agrees to rules increasing transparency on above market payments grid operators make to uneconomic resources, and getting interconnection agreements in gear. They also open the door to input on their problematic natural gas pipeline permitting process. In addition to shining a light on “uplift” payments for resources that can’t recover […]

FERC Spotlights Uplift Payments & Pipeline Project Review

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 19 unanimously approved rules to increase transparency on above market payments grid operators make to resources needed for reliability and to speed up interconnection agreements for generating resources 20 MW and larger. The regulators also launched a review of the agency’s 1999 intrastate gas pipeline project certification process. “Uplift […]

FERC Kills CAISO’s Protection of Designated Gas Plants

18 Apr

The California Independent System Operator’s proposal to increase payments to gas power plants deemed needed for reliability, but lacking supply cushion contracts, was rejected by federal energy regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the California grid operator’s proposed capacity procurement mechanism tariff was “unjust and unreasonable.” FERC found that because the grid operator’s […]

FERC to Scrutinize CA Power Transmission Costs

17 Apr

Federal energy regulators are considering complaints that Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison evaded federal transmission planning standards to pump up their charges. The dispute comes at the same time that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress this week that grid operators like the California Independent System Operator need to do a […]

Energy Facility Cyberattacks “Constant,” FERC Warns

17 Apr

Federal energy regulators ranked the security of the nation’s electric grid, dams, and oil and gas pipelines as the number one priority for the energy industry during an April 17 House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing. Cyberattacks on the grid and other energy facilities “are constant,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Kevin McIntyre told […]

CAISO Pitches Reliability Coordination Terms

9 Apr

The California grid operator outlined its proposal to become a western reliability coordinator, replacing Peak Reliability, starting the fall of 2019. The California Independent System Operator initially announced its plan Jan. 3 in response to the expected departure of Mountain West Transmission Group from Peak Reliability and the resulting rise in Peak’s services costs. Becoming […]

FERC Pact Slashes Tab for Calpine Reliability Deals

26 Mar

The cost of the controversial reliability must run contracts the grid operator signed with Calpine last year was substantially cut under a settlement approved by federal energy regulators. Calpine’s annual revenue cost for its 605 MW Metcalf plant in San Jose was reduced from a proposed $72.46 million to $43 million under an agreement between […]

FERC Order Promises to Be a Boon for Energy Storage

15 Feb

Federal energy regulators Feb. 15 adopted an order to expand participation of energy storage providers in wholesale power markets and another to enhance the frequency response capabilities of new generation facilities. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s order on storage, said Kevin McIntyre, commission chair, requires independent system operators and regional transmission organizations to remove “unnecessary […]

House Bill Eases PURPA’s Must-Buy Requirement

22 Jan

State energy regulators would gain more authority to waive the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act’s must-buy requirement for utilities under legislation debated Jan. 19 in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy. The measure, H.R. 4476, would allow state utility commissions to relieve utilities of the duty to purchase power from facilities with capacities […]

OPINIONATED: The Sorry State Of Demand Response, Smart Meters/Dumb Tariffs

22 Jan

 By Fereidoon Sioshansi The Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct an annual survey of demand response and advanced metering in the U.S. The 12th edition of the report was released in Dec. 2017 and anyone looking for major revelations is likely to be disappointed. Not much happens from […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

ISO Plans Discounted Western Reliability Services

18 Jan

The California grid operator is working to expand its services to include reliability coordination and expects it to cost potentially less than half of what’s charged by Peak Reliability, the current reliability coordinator in the West. “We have a fairly high confidence that the cost will be at least a 50 percent discount to Peak […]