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The Buzz

9 Oct

The release of the much anticipated first analysis of the major causes of the mid-August blackouts highlights warnings previously raised. That includes agency resource forecasting and planning missing the mark on climate and a cleaner grid. Major stakeholders—from utilities to community energy—insist that clean reliable resources are needed now more than ever. The California Public […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

PG&E Preventive Shutoffs Continue in Sonoma, Napa & Shasta

29 Sep

Hot strong winds forecast for this past Sunday and Monday drove Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power to 65,000 customers in parts of 15 counties.  As of mid-day on Sept. 28, 37,000 customers remained without power. The number fell to 24,000 customers by end of the day on Monday. Power remained shut off […]

The Buzz

18 Sep

Groundbreaking action by federal regulators requires grid operators to open their doors to aggregated power from energy storage, solar rooftops, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. CAISO is ahead of the regional transmission operator pack, but the new rule is expected to ease the way for more clean distributed resources into its grid. The Federal Energy […]

FERC Investigates California August Outages

17 Sep

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee announced Thursday that his agency is looking into what caused a shortage of electricity that led to rolling outages in California on Aug. 14 and 15. He said he is concerned about heat related events and wildfires. “Climate change is increasing the ferocity and number of weather events,” […]

Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

Juice: Scrutiny of Demand Response Failures Needed

15 Sep

The analysis of the rolling blackouts is in the works but there was advanced warning of some serious systematic problems, making some mistakes avoidable. The joint agency root cause report of the mid-August blackouts may be underway, but some problems were just waiting to happen. California was clearly and inexcusably on a path to rely […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

Energy Chair Sounds Alarm Over Skyrocketing Electric Bills

9 Sep

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair warned that increases in California utility bills are becoming untenable. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) pointed to the private utilities’ tab to reduce climate-aggravated wildfires, which gets passed on to customers. “Rates are really getting out of control,” Holden said during a Sept. 9 Power Association of Northern California meeting, […]

PG&E Shuts off Power in 22 Counties, SDG&E & SCE Customers Lose Power

8 Sep

High temperatures and fires over the Labor Day weekend put the grid to the test. While the California Independent System Operator managed to keep supply and demand in balance Sept. 5-7, tens of thousands of customers of the three investor-owned utilities lost power or had it shut off because of wildfires during and after the […]

The Cause of California’s Blackouts

8 Sep

Under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order, the California Public Utilities Commission has initiated a “root-cause analysis” of the state’s August 14-15 blackouts. Its joint report with the grid operator and California Energy Commission is expected to be completed at the end of this month. The blackouts were “intolerable,” but combined with the pandemic, west-wide heat storm, […]

The Buzz

27 Aug

State utility regulators sign off on funding the country’s biggest green public interest energy program and utility electric vehicle charging plan. The California Public Utilities Commission approves Southern California Edison’s $436 million program to install 38,000 electric car ports, focused on renters in and outside of struggling communities. The CPUC also extends for a decade […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

Guest Juice: It’s Time for California to Build Cheaper, Faster, Cleaner

24 Aug

By Pierre Delforge Dozens of concerned citizens, health and environmental organizations, and building professionals told the California Energy Commission at their August 12 virtual meeting that the time is now for California to align its building energy policies with its climate, public health and housing affordability goals. Advancing the electrification of new homes using grid-responsive […]

The Buzz

20 Aug

After 400,000 Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers had their power cut late last week because extreme heat spiked energy demand, Gov. Newsom tells energy officials to analyze the screw up. The grid operator, and heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission also must […]

Speedy Analysis of Rolling Blackouts Ordered

20 Aug

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, Independent System Operator and California Energy Commission to immediately determine why they failed to anticipate the mid-August squeeze on electricity resources and the cause of the rolling outages. In a letter sent early this week, the governor also demanded to know how the […]

Load Shifts and Less Consumption Avert More Blackouts

20 Aug

Widespread conservation at every level of electricity use, from industry, to households, is credited with lowering otherwise soaring demand on the grid on Aug. 17 and 18 by almost 4,000 MW. According to an Aug. 19 joint letter to the governor from three state energy agencies, several energy and water agencies reduced their demand. So […]

High Demand Drives up Power Prices to $1,500 MWh in So Cal

18 Aug

Rolling blackouts that had been forecast were averted Monday and Tuesday thanks to large and small customers who slashed their energy use. Peak demand on Monday dropped more than 4,000 MW below the projected high of 49,827 MW. “The response was stunning,” Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during […]

CA Gets It that the Power System Must Manage EV Charging

18 Aug

California’s heat wave-induced blackouts came during evening peak demand spikes. If California fails to manage electric vehicle charging it could make those spikes a lot more common, according to new research. California leads the U.S. with nearly 750,000  of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. light duty EVs. Electric vehicle sales rose over 60% in 2019.  […]

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