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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 […]

CA Home Solar Market Cools

8 Jun

Residential photovoltaic solar installations are declining in California for the first time this decade, according to a market report released June 8 by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The slowdown in the state, where residential installations dipped 35 percent during the first quarter of this year, dragged the national figure for residential installations down by […]

Energy Measures that Advance to Other House

8 Jun

Below is the latest update on bills that passed out of their house of origin. Still in play, but not approved, is Sen. Henry Stern’s legislation to freeze natural gas reinjections into the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon storage field, which leaked methane for months sickening residents. It was listed on the Senate floor’s June 8 […]

Climate Roundup: Yanking of Methane Rule Challenged

6 Jun

A coalition of environmental groups brought a lawsuit June 5 to stop the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from halting new curbs on methane leaks from the oil and gas sector. Methane is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The petition, filed in the Court of Appeals […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Set to Adopt Interim Fix for Power Imports

31 May

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 1. For the past several years, the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies have struggled with how to capture emissions related to imports of power into California in the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program. They’ve chiefly focused on a problem originally called resource shuffling. The effort became […]

JUICE: Juice Bar

31 May

Direct access has been somewhat of a dirty word since the 2000-01 energy crisis, which clobbered California’s private utilities and governor. Although not blamed for the melt down, contracts between independent power suppliers and large energy users—from hospitals to industrial facilities—were legislatively limited to existing direct access deals. Residential direct access was terminated after several […]

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 […]