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Bills Bolster Private Utilities’ Bottom Line & Building Emission Cuts

4 Sep

In a last-minute rewrite with minimal transparency, lawmakers passed a bill shielding Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders from massive wildfire liability but lacked similar gusto to pass legislation allowing for a regionalization of California’s electric grid. The grid regionalization bill, the two-year AB 813, remained stuck in the Rules Committee throughout the final two weeks […]

Juice: Big Energy Bills on Vacation Hold

10 Jul

Before lawmakers went on their month-long summer break at the end of last week, they advanced a pile of energy legislation that is a mix of the old and new. Awaiting legislators’ return to the state capitol are significant measures to create full blown expansions of the state’s wholesale energy market, clean energy mandate and […]

The Buzz

28 Jun

The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs. A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating […]

Geothermal Procurement Bill Clears Senate Panel

28 Jun

Legislation to require utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers to purchase more geothermal energy, particularly from new facilities being developed at the Salton Sea, cleared a crucial state Senate committee June 27. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee voted 7-2 to advance AB 893 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), who represents Imperial […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

25 Apr

A bill to carve out a utility procurement mandate for biomass, biogas, and geothermal power made it through an Assembly Committee April 23, but only after specific numeric requirements were axed and replaced with vague placeholder language. AB 2208 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), who represents the Geysers geothermal resource area, said her bill “will […]

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 […]

Bills Aim to Bolster Biomass, Geothermal, Reduce Munis Power Costs

18 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee voted to move two controversial measures forward April 18 setting procurement mandates for geothermal and biomass energy and to preserve a tariff that offers some municipal governments and others favorable rate treatment when they have solar systems. Lawmakers okayed the bills despite warnings they would raise the cost of […]

JUICE: State Bills Focus on Changing Energy Landscape

27 Mar

Key legislation would deal with how and when private utilities can recover from ratepayers the cost of wildfires, prohibit state energy regulators from halting natural gas hookups and safeguard select gas-fired power plants. But, the talk of the town is the revised measure to allow California’s grid operator to expand. Closed door negotiations are ongoing […]

Utilities & Community Choice Beat Renewables Target

14 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities exceeded the 25 percent alternative energy mandate set for 2016 and are expected to have half their energy portfolios supplied by eligible renewable resources by 2020. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission report submitted to the Legislature Nov. 13. The state’s community choice aggregators together exceeded last year’s mandate, […]

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 […]

CPUC Rolls Out CA Power System Resource Plan

2 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission laid out its goals for the upcoming integrated resource planning process to guide future procurement of power resources towards a lower carbon future. Under the integrated resource planning process, said CPUC staff member Forest Kaser, the reference plan aims to identify the least-cost approach to meeting the state’s 2030 greenhouse […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

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 […]

Bills Approved Include Ones to Grow Renewable Baseload and EV Chargers

11 Jul

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee July 10 passed legislation to encourage the use of geothermal and biomass resources, automatically inform ratepayers of utility bill spikes, and expand ratepayer-funded installations of electric vehicle charging stations. AB 920 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) seeks to increase the use of baseload renewable resources as fossil fuel […]

Bills Okayed to Expand Solar Incentives, Green Baseload & Data Access

20 Apr

Legislation to extend solar thermal subsidies and create geothermal and biomass carve outs were among measures advancing this week in the state capitol. The Assembly Utilities & Communications committee passed on an 8-5 vote AB 797 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Oxnard). It would extend by five years the solar hot water incentive program. The California […]

Shorts

21 Mar

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is poised to contract for 150 MW of geothermal power from Ormat’s Northern Nevada Geothermal Portfolio Project, which consists of both existing and new geothermal units. Under the 15-year deal, LADWP plans to pay $75.50/MWh or $94 million a year. The Los Angeles City Council has to […]

SHORTS

26 Jan

Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur was appointed FERC’s acting chair by President Donald Trump Jan. 26.  President Barack Obama, who appointed LaFleur in 2010, named her acting chair from November 2013-April 2015. She was replaced by Norman Bay as FERC chair. “While I recognize that FERC is in a state of transition as we […]

New Developer Enters Salton Sea Geothermal Arena

19 Jan

An Australian company is planning to develop up to 744 MW of geothermal energy at the Salton Sea, starting with a 280 MW plant. (more…)

Prospects for Reaching CA’s 50% RPS, Near and Far

27 Oct

Two reports, one by western state interests and the other by California stakeholders, look through different lenses at how the Golden State can reach a 50 percent renewable power level by 2030. Both agree there’s a lot of solar, wind and geothermal potential in and outside of California, but in-state transmission constraints and a shortage of […]