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Olsen Elected to Chair CAISO’s Board

15 Feb

David Olsen became the new chair of the California Independent System Operator board Feb. 15 to replace Richard Maullin, who has served as chair for some five years. CAISO’s Board of Governors elected Olsen to a one-year term as chair. They also elected Angelina Galiteva to serve as vice chair in the year ahead. Maullin […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

CAISO Pitches RMR Changes to Improve Playing Field

31 Jan

The grid operator is proposing to add must offer obligations to its reliability must run mechanism to ameliorate protests over the deals it signed last year. During a Jan. 30 stakeholder meeting, California Independent System Operator staff proposed revising its controversial RMR contracting mechanism to put contracts on par with utility resource adequacy agreements. Utilities […]

Undercurrents

23 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a statewide fire threat map highlighting areas with higher and extreme risks from utility associated wildfires. The state fire threat map, approved Jan. 19, ranks fire hazards to people and property. It also aims to implement new CPUC fire-safety rules, including on utility vegetation management. The new rules require […]

Solar Tariff Means U.S. Job Loss, Industry Warns

22 Jan

President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules aimed primarily at China, which is the world’s number one producer. “The International Trade Commission found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. […]

House Bill Eases PURPA’s Must-Buy Requirement

22 Jan

State energy regulators would gain more authority to waive the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act’s must-buy requirement for utilities under legislation debated Jan. 19 in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy. The measure, H.R. 4476, would allow state utility commissions to relieve utilities of the duty to purchase power from facilities with capacities […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

ISO Plans Discounted Western Reliability Services

18 Jan

The California grid operator is working to expand its services to include reliability coordination and expects it to cost potentially less than half of what’s charged by Peak Reliability, the current reliability coordinator in the West. “We have a fairly high confidence that the cost will be at least a 50 percent discount to Peak […]

Cap-&-Trade’s Effectiveness Questioned

17 Jan

Amid concern that California’s carbon cap-and-trade is awash in emissions rights so that companies face no pressure to reduce greenhouse gases, state lawmakers called on the California Air Resources Board to analyze how the various measures in the state’s climate program have worked over the past 10 years. “Experts say the state will meet the […]

Choice Program & Utility Reps Inch Towards Exit Fee Deal

17 Jan

Utilities and community choice aggregators this week worked to find common ground on transferring utility power portfolios to community choice programs and direct access providers to replace exit fees imposed on the non-utility organizations by the California Public Utilities Commission. The parties outlined their alternatives during a Jan. 16-17 CPUC workshop held as part of […]

CAISO Plans Big Energy Market Expansion

9 Jan

The California Independent System Operator plans to significantly broaden its real-time Energy Imbalance Market to include its much larger day-ahead market. “We believe we can get many of the benefits of full regionalization,” said Greg Cook, CAISO director of infrastructure, during a Jan. 8 briefing to the EIM body of state regulators. He said the […]

FERC Rejects Coal & Nuclear Subsidies

8 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jan. 8 turned down Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s proposal to provide price supports to coal and nuclear power plants in wholesale electricity markets. Perry had proposed “resilience” payments to the plants as long as they keep 60-day supplies of fuel on hand. His proposal faced significant opposition from the […]

Shorts

2 Jan

The grid operator plans to review reliability must-run contracting at a Jan. 30 meeting. The California Independent System Operator is to issue a white paper ahead of the meeting, which will discuss the RMR tariff, agreement, and process and will seek to clarify and align RMR procurement versus backstop procurement under the capacity procurement mechanism […]

CAISO Raises Pay for Replacement Power, Inches Up Budget

14 Dec

The grid operator’s board Dec. 14 approved allowing more flexible resources to come online soon after unexpected transmission disruptions. The newly approved modeling enhancement at issue also would increase the compensation paid to resources that come online quickly to rebalance the system. “This has the potential to increase reliability and reduce costs,” said Eric Hildebrandt, […]

New Western Grid Entity on Horizon

14 Dec

While California Independent System Operator efforts to formally expand into a western-wide grid manager largely have been hamstrung by governance issues, a new entity is exploring launching a western transmission organization. It would compete with possible CAISO and Southwest Power Pool expansions. At the end of last week, Peak Reliability, the reliability coordinator for the […]

CPUC Ups Ante on Fire Safety

14 Dec

Utility regulators stiffened fire safety rules for power companies Dec. 14, the last California Public Utilities Commission meeting of 2017. CPUC President Mike Picker said the new fire safety standards are needed, particularly because climate change is accelerating the risk of wildfires, for instance by causing tree mortality. Picker said that areas covered with dead […]

House Panel Debates North American Energy Trading

14 Dec

A House Energy & Commerce subcommittee Dec. 13 heard various views on whether and how to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement, and specifically about ramifications to trade in natural gas, electricity and crude oil between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. “Energy trade and regulatory alignment have allowed the three countries to reduce their […]

Opinionated: The Diablo Energy Efficiency Opportunity

12 Dec

Editor’s Note: The California Public Utilities Commission was set to vote Dec. 14 on the decision to reduce funding for Pacific Gas & Electric to close its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant from $1.76 billion to $172 million. However,  the commission announced at the start of the Thursday business meeting that a vote on the proposed […]

Proposed Gas Hookup Moratorium for LA Draws Opposition

7 Dec

State energy agencies are pressing Los Angeles County to freeze gas hookups for newly constructed homes and businesses in the face of feared “gas service interruptions” this winter. Three natural gas pipelines are out of service and the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field’s has limited capacity to inject gas into the local pipeline system. […]