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Undercurrents

16 Oct

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry expanded upon his call for new payments to coal and nuclear power plant operators for their fuel secure characteristic during a House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy hearing on Oct. 12. “Thousands of megawatts of fuel-secure generation capacity, including environmentally compliant coal and emission-free nuclear resources, have been prematurely […]

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

31 Aug

A week that began with record heat and a near record demand for power ends even hotter with a forecast of a new all-time record peak demand for electricity in California. The grid operator calls for conservation. PG&E calls for flashlights. Decentralized solar energy coupled with storage and smart controls can lower the cost of […]

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 […]

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), […]

Juice: While We Were Gone

21 Aug

No big breaking energy news occurred during our brief summer hiatus, but there were notable energy-related developments, including the release of cost estimates of using alternative clean energy resources in place of the Puente gas power project, a restart of the controversial Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump license proceeding, and a push by Southern […]

The Buzz

28 Jul

The California Independent System Operator seeks to widen the route to the state’s wholesale electricity market for demand response. Microgrids promise benefits, but first the California Energy Commission says numerous speed bumps must be removed to make them more commonplace. The grid operator seeks to head off the potential for sudden loss of large amounts […]

U.S. Senate Hearing Focuses on Nukes & Carbon Capture

26 Jul

Advancing new nuclear energy plants and carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired generation were highlighted during a July 25 Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing on clean energy technology. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), however, urged an expansion of the panel’s focus, noting the large increase in solar and […]

Shorts

11 Jul

The Energy Information Administration has added forecasts for small-scale solar system power capacity to its periodic Short-Term Energy Outlook reports. In its first such forecast, EIA projected that small-scale solar nationwide will grow from 14.3 GW to 21.9 GW by the end of 2018. Annual small-scale solar generation is expected to grow from 19,467 GWh […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Resorts to Ex Parte Tactics on Diablo Decommissioning Decision

10 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will meet next Monday, May 15, in commissioners’ offices at the California Public Utilities Commission to lobby against an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to grant it $2.3 billion of ratepayer money for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The decision cut the utility’s original request by $1.5 billion. Matt […]

U.S. Senate Panel Advances Nuclear Power, Efficiency & Hydro Permit Extensions

30 Mar

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee March 30 approved dozens of bills, including ones that would promote new nuclear energy technologies, energy efficiency and hydropower projects. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, said the U.S. would benefit from committee efforts to “advance nuclear research, energy efficiency, volcano monitoring, hydropower, federal land exchanges, and […]

Perry Lambasted in Nevada Visit

29 Mar

A meeting between the new Secretary of Energy and Nevada’s governor aimed at thawing opposition to a nuclear waste dump at Yucca Mountain in the Silver State produced little more than frost. After touring Yucca Mountain March 27, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry thanked Gov. Brian Sandoval “for the long and storied history” Nevada has […]

Small CA Muni Eyes New Nuclear Project

22 Mar

Power from a new nuclear reactor complex being planned in Idaho could flow into California as early as 2025 to the Truckee Donner Public Utility District. The district’s board plans to hear as early as it next meeting on April 5 whether local residents favor contracting for power from the plant. Truckee Donner plans to […]

Federal Government Pursues the Nuclear Option

22 Mar

California’s last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon is set to close by 2025 but in the nation’s capital Republicans, Democrats, and bureaucrats are working to clear the way for a nuclear power renaissance based on a new generation of “advanced” reactor designs. It was all hands on deck March 22 when the Nuclear Regulatory […]

Shorts

21 Mar

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is poised to contract for 150 MW of geothermal power from Ormat’s Northern Nevada Geothermal Portfolio Project, which consists of both existing and new geothermal units. Under the 15-year deal, LADWP plans to pay $75.50/MWh or $94 million a year. The Los Angeles City Council has to […]

Undercurrents: Edison Nets Just $72 M from San Onofre Arbitration

14 Mar

A disappointing ruling by the International Chamber of Commerce in an arbitration proceeding over failed steam generators at Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station will provide ratepayers little relief. In its decision in the case of Edison against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the arbitration panel ordered the Japanese maker of the steam generators to […]

Bill Seeks to Pave Way for a U.S. Nuclear Power Revival

8 Mar

The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee March 8 took up legislation to modernize the nation’s nuclear plant licensing process in a bid to clear the way for a new generation of plants based on advanced designs. The bipartisan bill, S. 512, is a new version of legislation that failed to advance in the last […]

PG&E to Roll Diablo Canyon Replacement Power Into Planning Process

1 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric and parties to an agreement for the utility to close its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant when its operating licenses run out in the middle of the next decade agreed to modify the pact when it comes to developing replacement power. Under the modifications, PG&E will maintain the previously proposed tranche […]