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Grid Regionalization Revival Delayed

13 Sep

(Updated on Sept. 13.) Legislation was amended to formally expand the California Independent System Operator into a western-wide grid manager at the end of last week. However, AB 726 and AB 813 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), were turned into two year bills mid-week. “After several months of questions and reviews of the ISO studies, including […]

Undercurrents: Bill Promoting Renewables During Peaks Before Gov.

7 Sep

State legislation to increase the amount of clean alternative resources used to meet peak demand passed both chambers this week. The Senate passed SB 338 on 27-13 vote Sept. 6 after the Assembly passed it 46-26 the day before. “California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), […]

House Panel Debates Whether PURPA is Out of Fashion

7 Sep

A House panel this week began considering whether to change a 40-year old federal law enacted to promote small wind and solar energy projects and industrial cogeneration to make the electricity market more competitive and energy supplies more diverse. The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy Sept. 6 held a hearing aimed at assessing […]

The Buzz

25 Aug

State utility regulators okayed a shift in the peak pricing period to later in the day for San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Industry advocates warn it erodes the economic advantages of rooftop solar. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gets an education about how the grid operates. A Department of Energy staff report he requested […]

CPUC Okays New SDG&E Peak Period

24 Aug

State energy regulators unanimously approved the second phase of San Diego Gas & Electric’s 2016-19 general rate case, which includes a shift in the time-of-use peak period and off peak rates. The redesign is part of SDG&E’s allocation of its approved triennial revenue requirement. “Time-of-use rates acknowledge we have an eclipse every day,” Mike Picker, […]

Senate Panel Okays CPUC Appointees

23 Aug

The Senate Rules Committee voted narrowly to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s two recent appointees to the California Public Utilities Commission. In separate votes, lawmakers on the five-member panel voted 3-0 Aug. 23 to recommend the Senate approve the appointments of Martha Guzman Aceves and Cliff Rechtschaffen to the commission. Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), […]

Grid Takes Solar Eclipse In Stride

22 Aug

During the Aug. 21 solar eclipse between 3,000 MW and 3,500 MW of large-scale solar dropped off line, according to the grid operator. The California Independent System Operator predicted the moon’s temporary shadowing of the sun would cause a loss of 6,000 MW of solar power, with 4,200 MW of that fall occurring at utility-scale […]

Electric Cars & Solar Roofs Driving Energy Demand

3 Aug

California’s future demand for electricity from utilities—and to some extent natural gas—will hinge on how fast electric vehicles and solar rooftops advance in the marketplace, according to the California Energy Commission’s latest forecast. Solar and electric vehicles, according to Chris Kavalic, Energy Commission researcher, “make the most difference in our forecast.” The commission previewed its […]

SoCal Gas Restarts Aliso Canyon Operations

1 Aug

SoCal Gas July 31 began injecting gas into its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in the Los Angeles area for the first time since a well blowout lead to a giant methane leak in 2015, forcing its closure. The utility notified residents of Porter Ranch and the San Fernando Valley that it had resumed […]

CAISO Eases Market Rules for Demand Response

27 Jul

The California Independent System Operator’s board July 26 approved measures to enhance the ability of demand response resources to participate in the grid operator’s market. The board voted in support of rules that specifically include expanding the baseline that evaluates the performance of distributed resources and energy storage in CAISO’s market.  Currently, CAISO uses one […]

CEC Seeks to Overcome Microgrid Hurdles

26 Jul

The California Energy Commission wants to unleash the power of microgrids to make the state’s electric system more resilient an adaptable as energy needs and technologies change. But first, it must figure out how to overcome significant obstacles. Microgrids, which generally consist of local distribution networks supplied by distributed generation resources and are often equipped […]

Shorts

25 Jul

Marin Clean Energy voted to nearly double the number of its customers. The board of California’s first community energy organization approved admitting Contra Costa County, Concord, San Ramon, Pittsburg and five smaller municipalities into its service area. “So we’ve now got 33 communities in total,” Dawn Weisz, MCE executive officer, said July 21. Marin’s customer […]

Clean Tech: Using Gas Pipelines for Hydrogen Delivery Is Up Hill Struggle

18 Jul

While policymakers envision piggybacking on the natural gas utility pipeline distribution system to distribute hydrogen to fuel vehicles and burn in homes and businesses, a new study casts doubt about the economics and practicality of doing so, at least for the next 20 years. The University of California at Davis study, presented to the California […]

Undercurrents: Perry “Bullish” on LNG Exports

18 Jul

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Washington July 18 that he envisions the U.S., along with Canada and Mexico, becoming a dominant force in international energy markets. Perry voiced support for a continuing Department of Energy and government role in funding research and development of a wide range of technologies—from clean coal and nuclear […]

Shorts

18 Jul

The House Energy & Commerce Committee began delving into how the nation’s electricity markets are functioning July 18. During the first of two hearings, the general assessment by a panel of utility and generator representatives was that the nation’s power industry is in the midst of rapid change, which is driving down the wholesale price […]

Renewable Gas Market Hampered by Cost

27 Jun

California has a significant potential to use methane produced by biological sources to stem global warming and reduce urban air pollution, researchers told three agencies this week at a joint meeting on reducing methane emissions. But there is a catch. Excluding externalities, biomethane is much more costly than other energy resources. Methane, a powerful greenhouse […]

Ways to Advance Renewable Gas

27 Jun

State energy and environmental agencies June 27 heard a potpourri of ideas for building a market to sop up biomethane, which is currently produced and emitted to the atmosphere from dairies, sewage treatment plants, landfills, and other sources in California. Biomethane can be used as a renewable fuel to power vehicles, make electricity and displace […]

Shorts

21 Jun

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia June 20 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of PJM’s revised electricity rules for the capacity market. The rules, approved by FERC in June of 2015, add higher penalties for non-performance and an increased cost cap. “Procurements in solar, wind, and demand response fell […]

Undercurrents: Trade Complaint Casts Shadow Over Solar Industry

19 Jun

A trade complaint filed by bankrupt photovoltaic cell manufacturer Suniva is being officially investigated by the International Trade Commission. It could recommend that President Trump levy tariffs as early as this fall. Suniva, which is based in Georgia but largely is owned by Chinese interests, is advocating that a duty of 40 cents per watt […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]