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Storage Clashes With State Goals

15 Nov

Battery electricity storage systems installed with California Public Utilities Commission-ordered subsidies are boosting peak load and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to analyses discussed at a Nov. 15 commission meeting. CPUC Regulatory Analyst Patrick Doherty called the evaluation “bad news.” Figuring out how to ensure systems help achieve the state’s goals of reducing emissions and […]

Doubling Energy Savings Means Focus on Existing Buildings

8 Nov

Without a concerted effort to reduce energy use, particularly in existing buildings and homes, California is likely to fall short of a legislative directive to double energy efficiency by 2030. That’s the conclusion of a California Energy Commission report presented Nov. 8 on how to achieve the efficiency target outlined in SB 350, enacted in […]

Shorts

7 Nov

Coal power production is expected to increase next year largely at the expense of natural gas-fired generation, according to the Energy Information Agency’s short-term energy outlook for the nation released Nov. 7. Gas power production will be about even with coal power next year, with each representing about 31 percent of total power production, EIA […]

Generator Earnings Generally Lower

6 Nov

Independent generator earnings were generally down in the third quarter of 2017, except for bright spots at NextEra and Calpine, with the latter changing hands after ongoing losses. AES, which like most of its generating brethren, is moving to modernize a handful of once-through cooled plants along the Southern California coast, reported a fall in […]

CPUC Rolls Out CA Power System Resource Plan

2 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission laid out its goals for the upcoming integrated resource planning process to guide future procurement of power resources towards a lower carbon future. Under the integrated resource planning process, said CPUC staff member Forest Kaser, the reference plan aims to identify the least-cost approach to meeting the state’s 2030 greenhouse […]

Undercurrents

1 Nov

As cooler temperatures take hold in Southern California, SoCal Gas is warning of energy supply risks in the coming season due to limitations placed on its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that reopened earlier this year. SoCal Gas President Bret Lane outlined the concerns in an Oct. 30 letter to the California Energy Commission […]

Undercurrents

25 Oct

The California Air Resources Board is in the midst of changing its low carbon fuel standard as it seeks to further ratchet down on greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decade. Natural gas vehicle advocates, however, are crying foul. Under the proposal, according to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, air regulators would increase the carbon […]

Winter Power Supply Looks Good, FERC Says

23 Oct

California will have an adequate supply of natural gas and electricity this winter, with gas prices down slightly from last year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2017-18 winter energy assessment. “Fuel and electricity demand likely will be moderate this winter,” Alan Haymes, FERC economist, said Oct. 19. Moderate demand is expected, he said, […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

PG&E Restores Power in Fire Regions

17 Oct

The massive fires that led to more than 40 deaths and torched huge swaths of Northern California tripped transmission and distribution lines maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric. Three 230 kV lines, and a 115 kV and one 60 kV line in Sonoma and Napa Counties were shorted out early last week by the Tubbs, […]

Brown Wraps Up Bill Signing

16 Oct

Among the last of the energy measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on or before the Oct. 15 deadline are ones promoting greater reliance on clean resources to meet power needs in Los Angeles in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage incident and advance rooftop solar energy systems. Brown signed SB 801 […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems. The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas […]

JUICE: A Gas Free Diet

11 Oct

California’s leadership finally seems to have developed an energy policy menu that will achieve its ambitious goal to slim greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. Recent decisions and actions pouring out of the kitchens in Sacramento and San Francisco significantly cut back on the amount of natural gas entrees to achieve bona fide low-carbon cooking. […]

Clean Power Cuts Natural Gas Need

9 Oct

Natural gas usage in California is projected to remain flat or decline slightly with increased energy efficiency and renewable power, according to a California Energy Commission projection shared at an Oct. 9 meeting. Slack demand in California coupled with high levels of gas production likely will result in less need for natural gas storage facilities […]

Puente Project Gets Shot Down

6 Oct

NRG’s construction license application for its 261 MW Puente natural gas-fired project on the beach in Ventura County was blown out of the water Oct. 6. “On the record currently before us, we are unwilling to override the significant impacts or [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] inconsistencies” posed by the project, states the proposed decision […]

Legislation Awaits Brown’s Pen

20 Sep

A dozen-and-a-half energy bills were among the pile of measures lawmakers sent to the governor at the end of their session. They include a Senate bill to help fill in possible supply gaps from a slimmed down Aliso Canyon gas storage field to Assembly measures to increase installations of electric vehicle chargers. SB 801 by […]

Shorts

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 14 After an almost nine month hiatus, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is fully functional again. FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee earlier this week announced that the commission will again hold monthly meetings beginning next week on Sept. 20.  The commission has not met since early this year after losing a quorum following the […]

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), […]

Utilities Benefit from New Climate Prediction Tools

29 Aug

Climate change is affecting energy utilities in a wide variety of ways and the pace of change is expected to quicken in the years ahead. However, utilities are beginning to benefit from new predictive tools the state has developed to help them plan future facilities that are adapted to a warmer climate. “It’s incumbent on […]

Perry Backs Away from Claiming Changing Power Mix Threatens Grid

24 Aug

To counter the rise in electricity powered by natural gas and intermittent renewable energy and fall of coal and nuclear fired power plants, the Department of Energy recommends reforming electricity pricing in centralized markets, including mitigating negative prices. It also calls for reducing the cost of licensing and relicensing nuclear power plants, large hydro and […]