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CAISO Chief Laments Lack of Regional Market & Supply Imbalance

15 Jun

Falling sun and wind resources occurring as demand rises, particularly in the evenings, has created a worsening supply gap. It grew 50% this year, California Independent System Operator Chief Executive Officer and President Steve Berberich said. This gap or ramp is now 15,000 MW over a three-hour stretch.  It is expected to reach 20,000 MW. […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

Summer Power Supplies Are Solid Unless it’s too Hot, CAISO Finds

18 May

Triple digit temperatures in late summer across the West could stress the power grid because of lower hydropower imports from the Pacific Northwest, a May 15 report by California’s grid operator concludes. The California Independent System Operator estimates that with average summer temperatures supplies would meet demand, estimated at 45,907 MW in a 1-in-2 scenario. […]

Home Power Use Continues to Rise, Overall Demand Falls

12 May

Residential electricity use rose 12.4% last month statewide, while total use fell 9% compared to April 2019, as the changes resulting from stay at home orders settled in. That’s according to a California Energy Commission report released May 12. In March, home electricity use increased 8.9%, but total use dropped 4% because of lower commercial […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

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 […]

Price and Variable Rates Help Protect a Clean Grid

25 Sep

Power pricing is a key driver impacting energy demand that can go a long way towards ensuring the reliability of a low carbon grid. “Prices are a powerful signal,” according to a presentation by Debra Lew, a Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body consultant, made at a Sept. 24 California Energy Commission workshop on Net Zero […]

Unspent SGIP Funds Redirected to Fire-Prone Areas

12 Sep

State energy regulators approved using $104 million in unspent clean energy incentives to aid struggling ratepayers and critical services providers in areas with high wildfire risks. Of that amount, $100 million is to provide incentives for energy storage system installations that can be used when power from the grid is disrupted. The money from the […]

Undercurrents: East Bay Energy Inks 200 MW of Clean Energy Deals

24 Jun

The East Bay Community Energy June 24 signed four contracts for 213.5 MW of wind and solar energy and battery storage projects. One of the four deals is a 10-year agreement for 20 MW of energy storage to provide resource adequacy. It is to partially replace the 40-year old polluting 165 MW Oakland power plant […]

Inside The Beltway: Sparks Fly Over DOE Budget

9 May

Energy Secretary Rick Perry covered the water front of U.S. energy issues May 9 during a House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2020. Perry told lawmakers that the department’s $31.7 billion request for the coming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would help sustain “recent historic economic […]

EPIC Program Focuses on V2G Technologies

20 Feb

Vehicle fleets mark a significant market opportunity in the emerging vehicle-to-grid arena. Installing software with a simple control system into a large number of electric cars to allow two-way communication with the grid can shift charging times and reduce costs and impacts on the power distribution and transmission systems, according to speakers at Tuesday’s Energy […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

Undercurrents

10 Jul

The harm to the marine environment from using ocean water to cool power plants is more widespread than thought, according to a new research report by the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team. The Council, a state agency, released the report July 9. It showed that ocean currents connect separate marine protection zones, essentially spreading […]

Agencies Zero In on SoCal Reliability

9 May

Expected energy supply strains this summer in Southern California was the focus of a joint agency hearing held May 8. The key concern is gas supply crimps, primarily because of the shutdown of four damaged pipelines that import gas into the region. The capacity of the gas pipeline system is projected to be about 500 […]

Undercurrents

2 May

The California Energy Commission’s projections that electric vehicles beginning in 2025 may draw nearly 1,000 MW from the state’s grid is the focus of a planned May 23 meeting. CEC found that electric vehicles are likely to create a peak charging demand around 9 a.m. when people plug-in their cars after commuting to work, plus […]

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 […]

Energy Bills Signed

3 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a half dozen energy-related measures into law, including ones to promote energy storage, enhance utility safety, temper utility service disconnections for non-payment, and further reform the California Public Utilities Commission. Brown vetoed one bill that would have dedicated a utility penalty for sparking a wildfire to fire prevention and fighting efforts. […]

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 […]

Grid Watch: Heat Triggers Near Record Power Demand

29 Aug

As the heat wave over California was poised to intensify Aug. 29, the grid operator forecast a near record load. It restricted maintenance work on power facilities to make sure all resources are available to service utility customers. The California Independent System Operator forecast a peak load of 48,291 MW on Aug. 29, up from […]

The Buzz

25 Aug

State utility regulators okayed a shift in the peak pricing period to later in the day for San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Industry advocates warn it erodes the economic advantages of rooftop solar. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gets an education about how the grid operates. A Department of Energy staff report he requested […]