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JUICE: Timing

15 May

Timing is everything. Thus, it is noteworthy that it’s optimal timing to increase the amount of hydropower imports from the Bonneville Power Administration into California. This option has been talked about for a few years, but now the needles on California’s legal, policy and resources compasses point northwest. If the capacity of the lines carrying […]

CASIO Warns of Potential Summer Grid Emergency

10 May

Though power demand will be about the same this summer as last, California’s grid operator warns that electricity supplies will be diminished due to lower levels of hydropower production after a dry winter and the retirement of natural gas power plants. The California Independent System Operator May 9 forecasted a 50 percent chance of a […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

Shorts

2 Apr

Updated April 5 California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  joined a coalition of Attorneys General suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas facilities. “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a legal responsibility to reduce methane emissions from existing oil and natural gas operations. We are taking him to court […]

Senate Panel Begins Work on Energy Measures

5 Dec

A U.S. Senate committee took testimony during a Dec. 5 hearing on seven separate bills dealing with Department of Energy programs. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes pledged to work with the House Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Power as the bills advance. He expressed enthusiasm about some of the measures, including […]

Undercurrents

29 Nov

The Bonneville Power Administration is keeping an eye on how flows of electricity to California and others in the grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market might affect its ability to provide reliable power to the Pacific Northwest. Russell Mantifel, Bonneville EIM access program manager, outlined the effort in a presentation Nov. 28 at the Regional EIM […]

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 […]

SMUD To More Than Double Its Cloud Seeding

19 Oct

In the hopes it will lead to higher levels of hydropower generation, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s board Oct. 19 approved expanding the muni’s cloud seeding program over the Upper American River Basin. The action will expand SMUD’s historical cloud seeding program from an area of 190 square miles to 444 square miles beginning this […]

CEC Turns Down LADWP’s Renewable Credit Bid

11 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 11 declined a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power appeal to have a contract with Powerex for small hydropower count toward compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The decision stemmed from an appeal LADWP filed in 2014 after the commission denied compliance credit for the power contract at […]

Undercurrents: Laying Ground Rules to Lessen Grid Insecurities

3 May

Energy regulators face myriad challenges in ensuring that state utilities adequately protect their substations, power lines and other energy infrastructure, from utility resistance to sharing sensitive information to impacts on ratepayer wallets. “Making sure the utilities are not overspending, and spending the right amount and in the right areas,” are key concerns, California Public Utilities […]

U.S. Senate Panel Advances Nuclear Power, Efficiency & Hydro Permit Extensions

30 Mar

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee March 30 approved dozens of bills, including ones that would promote new nuclear energy technologies, energy efficiency and hydropower projects. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, said the U.S. would benefit from committee efforts to “advance nuclear research, energy efficiency, volcano monitoring, hydropower, federal land exchanges, and […]

Shorts

28 Mar

The March 30 state snow survey shows the snowpack is at 164 percent of the historical average, at 45.8 inches, meaning high river flows and full reservoirs. “California enters the snowmelt season with a large snowpack that will result in high water in many rivers through the spring,” said Michael Anderson, state climatologist. Electronic measurements […]

Undercurrents: Edison Nets Just $72 M from San Onofre Arbitration

14 Mar

A disappointing ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce in an arbitration proceeding over failed steam generators at Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station will provide ratepayers little relief. In its decision in the case of Edison against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the arbitration panel ordered the Japanese maker of the steam generators to […]

SHORTS

7 Mar

An explosion killed a worker at the Sentinel power plant north of Palm Springs on March 6. Cal-OSHA and the California Energy Commission are probing what went wrong at the 800 MW gas-fired power plant which opened in 2013. Meanwhile, the plant is still operating. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power hopes to […]

JUICE: Dam Renewables

1 Mar

California is following in Hawaii’s footsteps and pursuing a 100 percent renewable energy standard by 2045. A lot can and will happen between the introduction and possible passage and implementation of Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León’s SB 584. It seeks to advance the state’s renewable energy standard of 50 percent from 2030 to 2025 […]

California’s Hydropower Profile

1 Mar

As California lawmakers contemplate reaching 100 percent renewable power, a historically wet winter filling reservoirs is enhancing the prospects for hydropower production after a five-year-long drought. California traditionally has relied on hydropower—though its availability swings wildly from year-to-year—for up to as much as 20 percent of its electricity needs. In 1998, for instance, hydropower provided […]

SHORTS

1 Mar

California’s Feb. 22 carbon emissions rights auction showed little demand based on results released March 1. Fewer than one-fifth of the 2017 allowances offered for sale actually sold. Interest was even more lackluster for 2020 allowances, with only about 7 percent of those offered selling. Both types of allowances went for $13.57 a ton. The […]

Hydro at Oroville Dam Remains Closed

23 Feb

Last weekend’s heavy precipitation kept offline the state’s large hydropower plant next to the compromised Oroville Dam in Butte County. The Department of Water Resources’ 819 MW Hyatt hydro facility can’t be restarted because of continued high water and debris levels in the upstream diversion pool, said DWR spokesperson Chris Orrock. It is not known […]

Oroville Debacles Shuts Big Hydro & Transmission

16 Feb

Huge releases of floodwaters from the Oroville Dam, and evacuation of 200,000 people downstream because of a partly crumbling spillway, forced the shutdown of the 812 MW Hyatt hydropower plant and nearby transmission lines. “There is no threat to the grid,” said California Independent System Operator spokesperson Steven Greenlee. He noted that power flows in […]

SHORTS

31 Jan

California’s snow pack is “very robust,” Frank Gehrke, chief of the California Cooperative Snow Surveys Program, reported Feb. 2. The Department of Water Resources measured a snow water equivalence of 28.1 inches at the Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada, far surpassing 6 inches found on Jan. 3.  After taking measurements at 101 stations, DWR […]