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Early Renewable Procurement Questioned

20 Nov

As the California Public Utilities Commission moves toward adopting a system-wide plan for buying generation resources and reducing greenhouse gases through 2030, a backlash is growing against requiring all load-serving entities to enter more long-term contracts for renewable energy. The CPUC’s draft Integrated Resource Plan rolled out last month calls on investor-owned utilities and other […]

Chatterjee Cites FERC Independence on Perry’s Proposal

16 Nov

Neil Chatterjee chaired his last meeting at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Nov. 16 after saying in a recent series of interviews that FERC is required by law to act on Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear power plants with additional payments in wholesale electricity markets. Chatterjee, who will continue […]

Storage Clashes With State Goals

15 Nov

Battery electricity storage systems installed with California Public Utilities Commission-ordered subsidies are boosting peak load and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to analyses discussed at a Nov. 15 commission meeting. CPUC Regulatory Analyst Patrick Doherty called the evaluation “bad news.” Figuring out how to ensure systems help achieve the state’s goals of reducing emissions and […]

Choice Program Clean Energy Projects Gain Critical Mass

15 Nov

Updated Nov. 16, 2017. As community choice aggregation programs have matured, the number of renewable power plants being built in California to serve their customers has swelled. The newest project is expected to begin operating early next year. Together, three major choice programs in the state—Marin Clean Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, and Peninsula Clean Energy—have […]

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, […]

Undercurrents

13 Nov

Renewable energy and the prospects for electric vehicles could be upended in part by Congressional action on tax legislation. At issue is the House tax package, which would cut the production tax credit for wind energy by more than a third, eliminate the federal $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles, and ax a 10 […]

Doubling Energy Savings Means Focus on Existing Buildings

8 Nov

Without a concerted effort to reduce energy use, particularly in existing buildings and homes, California is likely to fall short of a legislative directive to double energy efficiency by 2030. That’s the conclusion of a California Energy Commission report presented Nov. 8 on how to achieve the efficiency target outlined in SB 350, enacted in […]

Shorts

7 Nov

Coal power production is expected to increase next year largely at the expense of natural gas-fired generation, according to the Energy Information Agency’s short-term energy outlook for the nation released Nov. 7. Gas power production will be about even with coal power next year, with each representing about 31 percent of total power production, EIA […]

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 […]

JUICE: Finding the Wind & CPUC Leadership

6 Nov

Ancient Roman philosopher Seneca once observed that “To the person who does not know where he wants to go there is no favorable wind. That is true for California’s utility regulators, who displayed a lack of vision and muddled thinking in two important meetings last week. The first meeting held by the California Public Utilities […]

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 […]

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 […]

Former Fed Regulators Say Perry Plan is Off Base

31 Oct

Four former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members criticized Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to reward coal and nuclear plants in power markets for offering fuel security during a forum an Oct. 31 sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. The commissioners, whose service spanned administrations dating back to President Ronald Reagan, said Perry’s proposal—which […]

DOE Eyes Roll Back of Appliance Standard

25 Oct

The U.S. Department of Energy is embarking on a bid to change the way it sets energy efficiency standards for some 60 types of appliances to allegedly reduce the regulatory burden on manufacturers. “Through our ongoing efforts,” stated Energy Secretary Rick Perry Oct. 23, “we will promote job creation and economic growth, unleash American energy […]

Turning the Duck into Bucks

19 Oct

Excess intermittent renewable power pouring into transmission and distribution lines, once viewed as a big liability, is now seen as an opportunity by the grid operator. “What a great problem to have, lots of low-cost renewable energy,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of renewable integration, said during CAISO’s annual symposium held Oct. […]

Shorts

18 Oct

The grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members during the third quarter this year. Benefits since the western imbalance market began in 2014 now total $254.98 million, according to the California Independent System Operator on Oct. 18. The grid operator also said that carbon emissions from the […]

LADWP Sees Big Load Growth from Electric Vehicles

17 Oct

The Los Angeles Department of Water expects its power load to grow 50 percent if all the vehicles operating in Los Angeles run on electricity, according to Dave Wright, the muni’s general manager. On an interim basis, meeting that power demand might require an increase in the muni’s carbon emissions rights allocation from the California […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

16 Oct

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry expanded upon his call for new payments to coal and nuclear power plant operators for their fuel secure characteristic during a House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy hearing on Oct. 12. “Thousands of megawatts of fuel-secure generation capacity, including environmentally compliant coal and emission-free nuclear resources, have been prematurely […]