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FERC Spotlights Uplift Payments & Pipeline Project Review

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 19 unanimously approved rules to increase transparency on above market payments grid operators make to resources needed for reliability and to speed up interconnection agreements for generating resources 20 MW and larger. The regulators also launched a review of the agency’s 1999 intrastate gas pipeline project certification process. “Uplift […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

FERC Kills CAISO’s Protection of Designated Gas Plants

18 Apr

The California Independent System Operator’s proposal to increase payments to gas power plants deemed needed for reliability, but lacking supply cushion contracts, was rejected by federal energy regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the California grid operator’s proposed capacity procurement mechanism tariff was “unjust and unreasonable.” FERC found that because the grid operator’s […]

Undercurrents

12 Apr

The Natural Resources Agency was urged to alter its climate adaptation work to focus less on fighting climate-driven disasters, such as wildfires, and more on helping prevent climate change impacts, during an April 11 Senate Environmental Quality Committee hearing. “We know we have dead trees and poor soil management in forests,” said Committee Chair Bob […]

CAISO Pitches Reliability Coordination Terms

9 Apr

The California grid operator outlined its proposal to become a western reliability coordinator, replacing Peak Reliability, starting the fall of 2019. The California Independent System Operator initially announced its plan Jan. 3 in response to the expected departure of Mountain West Transmission Group from Peak Reliability and the resulting rise in Peak’s services costs. Becoming […]

CPUC Proposes Cutting Utility Spending on Electric Truck Charging

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission March 30 proposed authorizing the state’s investor-owned electric utilities to spend more than $600 million of ratepayer money over the next five years to help build out the state’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Some two-thirds of the money would be focused on developing charging infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, […]

JUICE: State Bills Focus on Changing Energy Landscape

27 Mar

Key legislation would deal with how and when private utilities can recover from ratepayers the cost of wildfires, prohibit state energy regulators from halting natural gas hookups and safeguard select gas-fired power plants. But, the talk of the town is the revised measure to allow California’s grid operator to expand. Closed door negotiations are ongoing […]

FERC Pact Slashes Tab for Calpine Reliability Deals

26 Mar

The cost of the controversial reliability must run contracts the grid operator signed with Calpine last year was substantially cut under a settlement approved by federal energy regulators. Calpine’s annual revenue cost for its 605 MW Metcalf plant in San Jose was reduced from a proposed $72.46 million to $43 million under an agreement between […]

The Buzz

23 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted big time reforms to increase gas power plant generator revenues and curb speculation in the transmission congestion market. Pacific Gas & Electric was chastised for balking at complying with the CPUC’s order to sign contracts for biomass projects to help reduce the huge number of dead trees. Biomass got  a […]

CAISO Okays Generator Revenue & Transmission Congestion Improvements

22 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted significant reforms to its wholesale power market March 22 to bolster revenues for natural gas power plant generators and curtail speculative profits stemming from transmission congestion. In a decision that will change the way gas generators offer their power in the California Independent System Operator’s market, the operator’s board adopted […]

Western ISO Bill Nixes Capacity Market, Bolsters CEC Authority

20 Mar

Changes to legislation to allow California’s grid operator to transform into a western balancing authority give the California Energy Commission the power to decide whether a proposed governance proposal passes muster. The latest iteration of AB 813 by Assembly Utilities & Energy Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) also would prohibit creating a centralized capacity market. Assemblymember […]

Panel Hears Conflicting Views on Potential CAISO Expansion

15 Mar

After last year’s attempt to ram through legislation to unify the Western grid, the benefits and risks of expanding the California’s grid operator’s footprint were publicly debated by the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee March 14. The focus of the panel’s hearing was AB 813 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), committee chair. Last year, he […]

Major Power Plant Retirements in So Cal

14 Mar

Merchant generators struggling in California are closing and selling off gas-fired generating facilities to stem the flow of red ink. After contracts for the output of three aging natural gas power plants in Southern California owned by NRG subsidiary, GenOn, were not renewed, the company threw in the towel. Slated for retirement over six months […]

LADWP’s Costs for Power & Fire Insurance Rise

13 Mar

In response to higher costs for purchasing electricity and wildfire insurance, the nation’s largest municipal electric utility is increasing customer rates. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board voted March 13, without discussion, to boost customer charges for energy by 4 percent. That will result in an average monthly bill increase of about 1.6 […]

Lawmakers Fear Utility Bankruptcies

27 Feb

State legislators voiced angst about the potential for utility bankruptcies Feb. 26 during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing on the impact of recent wildfires on the power industry. Recent credit rating actions by Standard & Poor’s for Pacific Gas & Electric—and even on a major solar project that feeds power to the utility […]

CPUC Proposes Multi-Year Resource Adequacy Requirement

22 Feb

Facing growing concerns about the cost of assuring resource adequacy for the state’s electric grid, the California Public Utilities Commission rolled out a plan to establish a multi-year capacity procurement obligation, which it debuted at a meeting Feb. 22. The proposal comes against the backdrop of the grid operator recently resorting to reliability must-run contracts […]

Undercurrents: Grid Regionalization Legislation Rises

21 Feb

Grid regionalization legislation appears to be back on the table, with draft language being circulated in Sacramento by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). Holden amended a bill late in last year’s legislative session to include provisions to allow the California Independent System Operator to move forward with a regionalized western grid […]

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 […]