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Direct Access Said to Threaten IOUs & Community Choice

23 May

The California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission met May 19 to better grasp how to reorient away from regulation of four private utilities, which are losing market share, to guiding the energy use of millions of disparate customers, including those joining public community choice programs. During the all-day joint commission meeting, the impact of […]

Regulators Struggle With Expanding Retail Choice

18 May

State energy regulators are wringing their hands over the flood of ratepayers moving to community choice programs and trying to create some order amid the chaos caused by the upending of the traditional role of private utilities and central planning. California is moving to a competitive retail market, notes a California Public Utilities Commission white […]

Juice: A Worthy Proposal

17 May

Rapid technological change and policies to promote clean energy have undermined traditional gas-fired generators and thrust the state’s grid into a period of instability. While ten years out the picture looks rosy—with little doubt the state will achieve its 50 percent renewable energy standard—the outlook for the next two to five years is cloudy with […]

Shorts

17 May

A bill to extend incentives for solar water heating systems passed the Assembly May 16. AB 797 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) cleared the chamber 48-22. It will allow home and building owners to get a state rebate along with an ongoing 30 percent federal tax incentive to install solar hot water and pool […]

CAISO Mutes Reliability Alert

10 May

The California Independent System Operator quietly announced the grid was threatened the evening of May 3. Many were unaware in real time that there was an operating reserve shortfall. Generator representatives and others also took issue with the lack of explanation as to what happened. “Looks like things fell through the cracks,” said Jim McIntosh, […]

Generator Earnings Mixed in First Quarter

9 May

Generators latest earnings report were not as grim as reported in previous quarters but also nothing to write home about. AES: This Virginia-based company continues to suffer losses. The first quarter of 2017 it reported a loss of $24 million, or minus 4 cents per share. That compares with net earnings of $126 million reported […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]

Shorts

27 Apr

The California Energy Commission approved a $390 million triennial EPIC investment plan April 27, pledging to fund research in areas considered critical to advancing the state’s clean energy aims. The plan for the Electric Program Investment Charge outlines investments the commission will make through the ratepayer funded program on projects from 2018-2020. Key objectives include […]

JUICE: Downsizing Gas Power

25 Apr

The day of reckoning is nigh for gas-fired power in California. A growing oversupply of power—created by California’s race to build renewable power plants— has depressed wholesale electricity prices to the point that operators often can’t bring in enough money to run gas plants day-to-day, much less cover the major maintenance work needed to keep […]

JUICE: CA’s Stellar Energy

18 Apr

California’s head energy regulator went to Washington, D.C., last month to encourage Federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy scientists to come work for the Golden State to advance clean energy. His trip was in response to the Trump Administration’s move in the opposite direction. Part of Trump’s anti-clean energy plan includes slashing the […]

Shorts

17 Apr

Southern California Edison commissioned two new hybrid peaker units April 18 that employ gas-fired turbines coupled with battery storage systems. The project, which uses GE technology, will cut in half the number of times the turbines need to fire up. It is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the units by up to 60 […]

Edison Tells Investors EV Charging is Big Business

12 Apr

One of California’s biggest electric utilities is banking on a growing number of electric vehicles on the state’s highways to provide  a business growth opportunity over the coming decade. In an April 12 briefing for investment banks, Southern California Edison executives outlined a growing need for both grid modernization to meet electric vehicle charging demand […]

JUICE: Sugar Daddies

21 Mar

The controversy over the 20-year utility contract for the coastal Puente power plant near Ventura is the tip of California’s excess gas power plant iceberg. Take a look at the California Energy Commission’s recent analysis highlighting how infrequently the power plants along the coast have been used. Last year, several facilities seldom ran. California’s overloaded […]

Carbon Tax Offers Certainty, LAO Says

16 Mar

A carbon tax provides more market certainty because of a “more consistent price signal” than the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, Ross Brown from the Legislative Analyst Office told an Assembly Budget Committee March 15. The tradeoff is over how much a pure tax would reduce greenhouse gases, he said during a hearing by the Senate […]

CAISO Sees Little Need for New Transmission

15 Mar

The grid operator’s board March 15 approved a 2016-17 transmission plan, which calls for no new major facilities. It does approve two minor projects valued at $24 million to improve reliability for Southern California Edison. “Continuing the recent trend of prior transmission plans, the number and capital costs of recommended transmission projects in this 2016-2017 […]

Guest Juice: Energy Efficiency as a Distributed Resource

15 Mar

Editor’s Note: This is a second in a series of articles on how California counts on energy efficiency to help meet state greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy goals while serving as a meaningful distributed energy resource alongside of rooftop solar, energy storage, and demand response.[1] By Cynthia Mitchell As California’s “first loading order resource,” […]

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 […]

Two Calpine Plants Set for Reliability Must-Run Designations

6 Mar

The California Independent System Operator is proposing to designate two Sacramento Valley power plants as reliability must-run units when the long-term power purchase agreements for their output expire at the end of this year. “We’re not aware of any short-term alternatives,” said Neil Millar, executive director of infrastructure development for the grid operator, during a […]

Generator Earnings Largely Head Down Hill

28 Feb

AES earnings last year took a nosedive. This giant international power company based in Arlington, Virginia, suffered a loss of $1.13 billion, or minus $1.71 per share, compared to net profits of $306 million in 2015, or $0.44 a share. (more…)

Regulated Utility Earnings Rise in 2016

28 Feb

  California’s regulated utilities and their holding companies’ 2016 earnings increased under California Public Utilities Commission approved rates and spending programs, utility executives told financial analysts recently. (more…)