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Despite COVID-19, Solar is Projected to See Continued Growth

19 Mar

The solar energy industry is not immune to the Coronavirus. Temporary factory closures and employee shortages because of difficulty in getting to work have caused supply chain issues that have slowed down some projects. “We know anecdotally that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting delivery schedules and our ability to meet project completion deadlines based partly […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

Court Signs Off on Part of PG&E Reorganization Plan

17 Mar

The U.S Bankruptcy Court approved nearly $20 billion in equity and debt financing as part of Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to exit Chapter 11 proceedings by June 30. The approval came during a March 16 telephonic hearing. The power company will be allowed to enter into $10.83 billion in debt financing, and issue $9 […]

OPINIONATED: Setting the Record Straight on SMUD’s Community Solar

17 Mar

Editor’s Note: SMUD responds to criticism of its Solar Shares program raised in a March 2 editorial by local solar advocate Dave Rosenfeld. SMUD’s community solar program was approved by the California Energy Commission last month.  California’s 2019 Building Standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and included a requirement for the use of solar […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

CA-Quebec Auction Produces Welcome Results Amid Trump Challenge

16 Mar

A federal judge rejected an initial attempt to break up the California-Quebec carbon credit trading market. The market allows carbon emitters in the state and province to take advantage of efficiencies in reducing pollution. The decision came on the heels of a successful auction round concluded Feb. 26. Late last week, Federal District Court Judge […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

CPUC Reaffirms its Authority over Diablo Costs, is Silent on Early Closure

12 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission approved without comment calls for scrutinizing the high costs of keeping the 2,200 MW Diablo Nuclear Power Plant online. The decision by Administrative Law Judge Peter Allen, backed unanimously March 12, does not address the implicit call by the Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility’s petition for a plant closure before 2025 […]

CEC Awards $25M in Energy Reduction Grants & Loans

11 Mar

The California Energy Commission approved $19.4 million in grants to help food producers in the state cut their energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Also at this week’s March 11 meeting, newly confirmed commissioner Patty Monahan applauded the agency for pressing forward on transportation electrification with its upcoming Integrated Energy Policy Report. It will […]

Open Energy Meetings & COVID-19

10 Mar

State and federal agencies and organizations do not see eye to eye on the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Most cautious so far is the grid operator. Last week, the California Independent System Operator announced it was switching all of its in-person gatherings, including Board of Governors, Western Energy Imbalance Market and Market Surveillance […]

Monterey to Accept Diablo Nuke Power, Some CCAs Remain Undecided

10 Mar

Updated March 11 When state regulators unanimously adopted a 50% hike in the exit fee imposed on a group of community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory last month, it revealed how much they are paying for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It is one-third of this year’s Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, […]

Shorts

10 Mar

California does not yet have any offshore wind plants nor do most other states on the West and East coasts. There is only one commercial offshore wind farm in the U.S., which is in Rhode Island. This market, however, is expected to grow quickly with tools to improve offshore wind turbine performance, making them more […]

Offshore Wind Workshop Blows Through Sacramento

9 Mar

California has the fifth-largest installed wind resource capacity in the United States, at 6 GW as of the end of 2019, but none of it includes offshore wind. The California Energy Commission is promoting offshore wind development because it can help the state reach it’s 60% renewable mandate by 2030. “Supporting innovation and lowering cost […]

Opinionated: Boom in Electric Transportation Means SoCal Jobs

9 Mar

In the 1990s, Southern California was lamenting the demise of its once thriving auto industry. But the rise of electric transportation in recent years has created a new boom, according to a report  recently issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.. And with that boom comes jobs, according to the report, titled “Economic […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

Shorts

5 Mar

Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 4 reappointed two California Independent System Operator board members. Ashutosh Bhagwat and Angelina Galiteva were given additional three-year terms by the governor. Both members are serving third terms. Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO, who retires in June, said the re-appointees and the executive leadership will continue to work together […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]