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Renewable Energy Curtailments Rising

14 Aug

The amount of wind and solar energy production in California that is being curtailed has gone up dramatically since 2014, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Based on California Independent System Operator records, NRDC found there was a 600 percent increase in curtailment in May of this year compared to May of 2014. This […]

The Buzz

10 Aug

A legislative conference committee working to address wildfire safety and liability standards for utilities faces major opposition. The big kahuna is who gets slammed with the multi-billion tab for harm from utility equipment-sparked blazes. Major energy legislation to create a regionalized grid, move to 100 percent carbon-free power, and open up direct access to all […]

Plan to Curb Utility Wildfire Liability Faces Pushback

10 Aug

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to legislatively amend the decades–long court created legal doctrine that holds utilities strictly liable for wildfire damage faced strong head winds at an Aug. 9 legislative conference committee hearing. At issue is who’s responsible for the massive liability tab from the destruction arising from utility-sparked wildfires: ratepayers, local governments, insurance companies […]

$120M Aliso Canyon Gas Leak Deal Inked

8 Aug

State and local agencies and SoCal Gas Aug. 8 agreed to a $119.5 million settlement to resolve the public claims arising from the massive methane leak that occurred at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in Los Angeles in 2015. Attorney General Javier Becerra emphasized, however, that the company still faces hundreds of […]

Revised Power Charge Gets Mixed Reception

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision Aug. 1 that attempts to resolve differences over how to allocate private utility power portfolio costs between customers that remain with an investor-owned utility and those that depart. The proposal modifies the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, which was created to avoid saddling remaining utility ratepayers with […]

CARB Counters Trump on Auto Standards

7 Aug

The California Air Resources Board Aug. 7 revealed it intends to amend its greenhouse gas standards for autos late next month in a bid to fight the Trump Administration’s plan to weaken federal standards. The Air Board is proposing to rescind a portion of its clean car standards that allows vehicles built pursuant to nearly […]

Shorts

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission published the final version of its paper on customer choice for electricity Aug. 7, but it makes no specific policy recommendations. The  final paper proposes scheduling the development of  a separate action plan by this fall that may outline recommendations to deal with the changes sweeping the state’s power industry. […]

PG&E & Sempra Report Big Losses

6 Aug

Earnings of two of the three parent companies of California’s major investor-owned utilities took a turn for the worse in the second quarter of 2018. Pacific Gas & Electric reported the largest earnings hit because of wildfire liability followed by big losses at Sempra Energy. Meanwhile, Edison International’s earnings were largely level and could be […]

Both Sides of the House Cheer Storage

18 Jul

Battery energy storage technology drew bipartisan praise July 18 during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on the growing role of the technology in the nation’s power grid. Energy storage, said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), is increasingly “important” to maintaining the nation’s energy supply and helping  “build resilience” in the power grid. Rep. Bobby […]

FERC v. CA Litigation over CAISO’s Board Selection

17 Jul

The conflict between federal energy regulators and California over the makeup of the California Independent System Operator’s board following the 2000-01 energy crisis was largely decided at the appellate court level. On June 22, 2004, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in California’s favor that its new board was indeed […]

LA Choice Program Blasts CPUC Dissing CCAs

11 Jul

The state’s largest community choice aggregator late last month complained to the state Legislature about the California Public Utilities Commission’s customer choice project, which is outlined in what the commission calls “The Green Book.” The Clean Power Alliance, which is the new community choice program for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, wrote that “the Green […]

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 […]

Senate Analysis Sees Legal Risks in Regional Grid

3 Jul

Grid regionalization legislation is advancing through the Legislature despite a bill analysis warning it could pose serious threats to the state’s control over its clean energy laws because of potential federal preemption and conflict. “Given the current administration and its ever-increasing appetite to usurp state control, it would arguably be dangerous policy to enter California […]

JUICE: Creating the ISDN Grid

26 Jun

When I was a young reporter in Washington in the early 1980s covering the telecommunications industry, the policy vision was to unleash competition to advance technologies and eventually create what was called the Integrated Services Digital Network, or ISDN. ISDN was to become a single operating network through which all communications could flow—including phone calls, […]

Central Power Procurement Pitch Applauded

25 Jun

During another meeting of state energy regulators and policymakers about how to ensure reliability in an energy landscape where investor-owned utilities are steadily losing ground, a former federal energy regulator recommended against myopically focusing on resource adequacy. “It does not need to be the tail that wags the dog,” said Pat Wood, the Federal Energy […]

The Buzz

21 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires. The California Public Utilities Commission sets […]

CPUC Adopts 2019 Resource Adequacy Determinations

21 Jun

In a move that breaks years of impasse over how to assure local resource adequacy, the California Public Utilities Commission June 21 signaled its intent to require multi-year resource adequacy procurement. It also noted it would seriously entertain creating a central purchasing agent for resource adequacy. The commission won’t make those revisions in its resource […]

Grid Regionalization Bill Passes Panel

19 Jun

The most significant energy legislation of the session, which would give the California grid operator the green light to become a regional power market and transmission operator, barely passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee. AB 813 by Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), chair of the Assembly Energy & Utilities Committee, needed at least […]

Juice: Parsing AB 813

19 Jun

Suddenly, all eyes are turned toward the likely prospect California lawmakers will soon enable a regionalized western power grid and wholesale market. Regionalization was on the table a few years ago, but progress largely faltered on concerns it would enable more coal power to flow into California, confounding the state’s march to decarbonize its economy. […]

Shorts

19 Jun

Updated June 21. The grid operator acted June 21 to better align its transmission congestion revenue rights auction revenue with what it pays out to the rights holders in its day-ahead market. On a monthly basis of late, according to the California Independent System Operator, payouts have exceeded revenues by between $2 million and $20 […]