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Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

News Roundup: CPUC Rejects Director’s Whistleblower Claim

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission is refuting claims by its embattled executive director that she has been illegally forced out. Alice Stebbins dismissal is be discussed at an Aug. 31 public Commission hearing. She was placed on indefinite leave Aug. 4. The attorney representing the state agency claims in a letter that Stebbins “engaged in […]

Utility Owned Residential Rooftop Solar Doesn’t Work

25 Aug

Amid a pandemic and struggling economy, U.S. rooftop solar promises continued growth and some utilities still want a piece of the action. But new research shows that customers reap few benefits. As the market moves beyond early adopters, there is some logic in having solar built by utilities with expertise in energy instead of consumers […]

High Demand Drives up Power Prices to $1,500 MWh in So Cal

18 Aug

Rolling blackouts that had been forecast were averted Monday and Tuesday thanks to large and small customers who slashed their energy use. Peak demand on Monday dropped more than 4,000 MW below the projected high of 49,827 MW. “The response was stunning,” Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during […]

Juice: CA Leads on U.S. Green Hydrogen Solutions

11 Aug

California is showing that green hydrogen will soon be a crucial path to greenhouse gas emission reductions that cannot be reaped from wind, solar, and energy efficiency. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s biggest municipal utility, is setting the pace in the use of green hydrogen for electricity generation. Sunline Transit, […]

The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

Sempra Earnings Soar, Ups Fight to Protect Turf in CA

5 Aug

Sempra Energy, the parent company of both San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas, saw sharply increased earnings of $2.305 billion in the second quarter, or $7.64 per share. That compares to $435 million last year, or $1.29 per share. Much of the increase was attributed to the multi-billion dollar sale of its South […]

News Roundup: CPUC to Oppose Payday for Transmission Owners

3 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 State energy regulators are expected to soon ratify their staff’s formal opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March plan that would give transmission owners handsome payoffs for cybersecurity upgrades. The awards would come even if the businesses were already making the investments without the incentives. FERC proposes the changes to benefit […]

The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

Edison’s Earnings Drop, PG&E’s Losses Less Grim

30 Jul

Two of California’s three investor-owned utilities reported second quarter earnings this week. Edison International’s earnings were not as rosy as the same quarter last year, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s were not as bad. Sempra reports earnings next week. Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, reported a drop in second quarter earnings […]

News Roundup: Trump Names Two FERC Nominees

28 Jul

After months of ignoring the Democrats’ nominee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while advancing the Republican choice for another, President Donald Trump July 27 accepted two prospective commissioners, one from each party. Democrats chose Allison Clements, and Republicans chose Mark Christie. “In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, […]

The Buzz

23 Jul

Energy storage is surging in California, with much of it being built next to solar plants. The grid operator board approves giving these complimentary co-located projects a market boost so they can fill the gap in peak supplies over the next three years. After many years, dozens of stakeholders reached an agreement on removing PacifiCorp’s […]

Warren Buffett Bids to Replace SDG&E

21 Jul

San Diego will take formal bids for alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric as its power supplier because of the upcoming expiration of the utility’s franchise agreement with the city. Billionaire Warren Buffet will bid into the city’s solicitation. SDG&E’s 50-year franchise agreement, which allows use of San Diego’s rights-of-way for delivery of electricity […]

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 […]

PG&E Has $17B on Hand for Fire Victims & Cities

1 Jul

Updated July 2 Pacific Gas & Electric announced July 1 it funded much of the cash portion of its $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires from 2015-18, as well as the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. PG&E funded the victim trust with $5.4 billion in cash. It will receive a further $650 million cash […]

CPUC Lets Big Hybrid Resources Play in Supply Cushion Market, Blasts FERC’s Transmission Bonuses

25 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission approved changes to local resource adequacy parameters for 2021-23, including counting capacity from front-of-the meter solar and storage projects and hydro resources. It does not allow behind-the-meter renewable projects paired with storage to participate in the local supply cushion market. The CPUC’s 5-0 decision creates a working group made up […]

Court Approves PG&E $60B Financing Scheme, Company Issues More Debt

23 Jun

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion reorganization to resolve massive claims—from wildfire victims and other creditors—10 days ahead of a legislative June 30 deadline. That is the final date for accessing the $21 billion utility ratepayer and shareholder funded fire trust, which PG&E and the court have kept their eyes […]

PG&E to Sell San Francisco Headquarters, Issue $9B in Stock

9 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 8 that it would sell its San Francisco headquarters near the Embarcadero waterfront. After more than 115 years in the City by the Bay, it plans to relocate to Oakland in the East Bay the year after next. The move is expected to lower company costs. The same day, […]

The Buzz

28 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s huge debt package to get it out of federal bankruptcy court by the end of June as directed by state legislation.   Moving on a parallel track is legislation setting the stage for California to seize PG&E’s gas and electric assets. Putting the utility under […]

CPUC Gives PG&E Bankruptcy Plan the Green Light

28 May

State utility regulators May 28 unanimously signed off on a $58 billion bankruptcy reorganization plan for Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility. Marybel Batjer, California Public Utilities Commission president, said the plan leaves some important power in the hands of regulators, including the ability to force PG&E to prioritize customer safety. She said that, […]

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