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LA County Choice Program Goes Live

13 Feb

Los Angeles Community Choice Energy became operational this month, serving some 2,000 county facilities. Operating under the new name of the Clean Power Alliance of Southern California, it will have more than 2.4 million residential customers and a quarter of a million business customers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and 26 […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

Shorts

6 Feb

Updated Feb. 8. NRG sold $2.8 billion of its assets a few months after announcing it was putting many of its renewable energy projects up for sale. NRG generating facilities in the Golden State or supplying electricity to California not included in the massive sale are its 195 MW interest in the Ivanpah solar thermal […]

Solar Tariff Means U.S. Job Loss, Industry Warns

22 Jan

President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules aimed primarily at China, which is the world’s number one producer. “The International Trade Commission found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. […]

Calpine Sale Faces Court Challenge

6 Dec

The merger plan of the financially struggling Calpine has hit a legal snag. The generating company announced Aug. 17 it reached a buyout deal with private equity firm Energy Capital Partners, but then later was hit with class action suits. Four lawsuits were filed in late October and mid-November in the U.S. District Court for […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Set to Adopt Updated Scoping Plan

5 Dec

The California Air Resources Board released the final draft of its updated scoping plan for meeting the state’s 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2030 on Nov. 30. “The plan is a package of economically viable and technologically feasible actions to not just keep California on track to achieve its 2030 target, but stay […]

Climate Roundup: Electric Big Rigs Face Big Costs

30 Nov

Electric big rig trucks, which the state is pushing hard to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and unhealthful pollutants from transportation, have high “upfront costs” that “are prohibitive,” Navigant Research concluded in a report released Nov. 29. The report comes as the California Public Utilities Commission is weighing a plan by Southern California Edison to […]

Financial Firms Pocket Congestion Revenue Rights Rent

29 Nov

Californians are losing money to the financial industry in the state’s wholesale electricity market through a practice known as financial trading, which some say allows financial companies to collect rents by participating in wholesale power markets without adding value. The loss amounts to $75 million a year, a California Independent System Operator official told a […]

Shorts

14 Nov

Calpine has set a shareholders’ vote on its merger with Energy Capital Partners for Dec. 15. Under the proposed merger, a subsidiary of Energy Capital Partners known as Volt would purchase Calpine at a price of $15.25 a share. If approved, Calpine stock no longer would be traded, but instead controlled by the Energy Capital […]

Generator Earnings Generally Lower

6 Nov

Independent generator earnings were generally down in the third quarter of 2017, except for bright spots at NextEra and Calpine, with the latter changing hands after ongoing losses. AES, which like most of its generating brethren, is moving to modernize a handful of once-through cooled plants along the Southern California coast, reported a fall in […]

Shorts

1 Nov

Another merchant generator bites the dust. Dynegy, which has suffered a series of losses,  is being bought by a larger Texas company. That company, Vistra Energy, is to pay $2.3 billion in an all stock sale of Dynegy, which owns 27,000 MW of power generation capacity.  The merger “is expected to create the lowest-cost integrated […]

Utility Earnings Up, But SDG&E Takes Hit on Wildfire Costs

1 Nov

Updated Nov. 2 Earnings were up at Edison International and its utility Southern California Edison, as well as at Pacific Gas & Electric and Sempra Energy’s SoCal Gas utility in the third quarter of 2017. However, San Diego Gas & Electric was hampered by a continuing dispute over whether it will be able to recover […]

OPINIONATED: Binary Geothermal Gives PV a Run for Its Money

17 Oct

By Paul Thomsen In 2017, for the first time, the combined energy and capacity values of geothermal energy significantly exceeded the value of solar photovoltaic resources in California. In the first quarter of 2017, geothermal’s wholesale energy value in Southern California was $13.50/MWh greater than solar PV. At the same time, utility estimates of marginal […]

Upcoming Nuptials for CA Power Plants

11 Oct

A large portion of traditional and renewable power generation assets is changing hands in California. Approximately 15,000 MW of assets now owned by Calpine and NRG will soon have new owners.  In addition, the status of a handful of gas-fired plants owned by NRG subsidiary GenOn is in flux. Calpine—which owns more than 6,000 MW […]

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 […]

JUICE: Energy Hangover

4 Oct

California’s continuing drive to clean up the electricity sector has big pluses, but also minuses. The latter includes unintended consequences. Last week, the drawbacks were on display at the Independent Energy Producers Association’s annual conference next to the stunning Fallen Leaf Lake above Lake Tahoe. The meeting marked yet another in a more than three-decades-long […]

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 […]

Calpine Lands $5.6 B Purchase, Sempra Buys Texas Utility for $9.5 B

21 Aug

Reflecting the contrasting financial health of investor-owned utilities and merchant generators in California are Calpine and San Diego Gas & Electric. Calpine put itself up for sale and the parent of the latter is going to pay big bucks to buy a Texas wires company. Calpine, which was the golden independent generator during California’s 2000-01 […]

Earnings Grow at PG&E & Sempra & Remain Flat at Edison

4 Aug

Utility holding company second quarter earnings reports show gains at two companies and stability at a third. Here’s a rundown of the latest results. Edison International: The parent company of Southern California Edison had earnings of $278 million in the second quarter of 2017, or 85 cents a share. That’s down from earnings of $280 […]

Calpine Seeks Buyer, Other Generators Report Lower Income

3 Aug

While the results are not all in yet, the second quarter 2017 earnings statements for merchant generators with substantial operations in California show lower net income for some, with Calpine’s continued decline driving it to put itself up for sale. AES: The company plans to release its second quarter earnings results Aug. 8. Altagas: This […]