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23 May

The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee passed legislation mandating that fines imposed on Pacific Gas & Electric for the 2015 Butte fire directly benefit the two impacted counties. During a May 23 hearing, lasting about two minutes, AB 524 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Madera) was approved.  It focuses on the $8.25 million in penalties slapped […]

Juice: A Worthy Proposal

17 May

Rapid technological change and policies to promote clean energy have undermined traditional gas-fired generators and thrust the state’s grid into a period of instability. While ten years out the picture looks rosy—with little doubt the state will achieve its 50 percent renewable energy standard—the outlook for the next two to five years is cloudy with […]

LA Jump Starts Feed-In Tariff Program

17 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is restarting its solar feed-in tariff program at a higher price beginning mid-June under a streamlined procedure. The muni’s board approved the move May 16. Under the revised program, the utility will seek 65 MW of solar production in blocks of 5 MW at a fixed price […]


10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

Generator Earnings Mixed in First Quarter

9 May

Generators latest earnings report were not as grim as reported in previous quarters but also nothing to write home about. AES: This Virginia-based company continues to suffer losses. The first quarter of 2017 it reported a loss of $24 million, or minus 4 cents per share. That compares with net earnings of $126 million reported […]

Undercurrents: Laying Ground Rules to Lessen Grid Insecurities

3 May

Energy regulators face myriad challenges in ensuring that state utilities adequately protect their substations, power lines and other energy infrastructure, from utility resistance to sharing sensitive information to impacts on ratepayer wallets. “Making sure the utilities are not overspending, and spending the right amount and in the right areas,” are key concerns, California Public Utilities […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]

JUICE: Downsizing Gas Power

25 Apr

The day of reckoning is nigh for gas-fired power in California. A growing oversupply of power—created by California’s race to build renewable power plants— has depressed wholesale electricity prices to the point that operators often can’t bring in enough money to run gas plants day-to-day, much less cover the major maintenance work needed to keep […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

Huntington & Alamitos Power Projects Are Off & Running

12 Apr

Two large replacement natural gas power plants along the Southern California coast were approved by the California Energy Commission midweek. AES’s scaled back 844 MW Huntington Beach and 1,040 MW Alamitos facilities were unanimously approved after the construction permits were amended to allow both projects to begin building immediately. Oddly enough, parties that fought the […]

JUICE: The Green Tide

12 Apr

For many moons, the state grid operator and others insisted that the unruly and growing ebb and flow of wind and solar power is forcing an increase in natural gas-fired generation to ensure grid reliability. The California Independent System Operator’s version of reliability, if persistent, would partly defeat the purpose of the state’s climate protection […]

Top Ventura County Official Opposes Puente Power Project

5 Apr

The chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors told the California Energy Commission April 3 he opposes NRG’s plan to build the 271 MW gas-fired Puente Power Project at the site of its old Mandalay Generating Station in Oxnard. The dry-cooled Puente plant would replace the existing ocean water-cooled and inefficient Mandalay station, which […]

NCPA Signs Long-Term Lancaster Solar Project Deal

28 Mar

The Northern California Power Association at the end of last week signed a 20-year agreement for 50,500 MW hours a year from a proposed expansion of a solar farm in the City of Lancaster. The 17 MW Antelope Expansion photovoltaic project by Salt Lake City-based Sustainable Power Group is projected to come online between the […]

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 […]

JUICE: Sugar Daddies

21 Mar

The controversy over the 20-year utility contract for the coastal Puente power plant near Ventura is the tip of California’s excess gas power plant iceberg. Take a look at the California Energy Commission’s recent analysis highlighting how infrequently the power plants along the coast have been used. Last year, several facilities seldom ran. California’s overloaded […]

CAISO Sees Little Need for New Transmission

15 Mar

The grid operator’s board March 15 approved a 2016-17 transmission plan, which calls for no new major facilities. It does approve two minor projects valued at $24 million to improve reliability for Southern California Edison. “Continuing the recent trend of prior transmission plans, the number and capital costs of recommended transmission projects in this 2016-2017 […]

Ocean Water Use at Coastal Power Plants Declines Faster than Required by State Policy

9 Mar

Use of ocean water for cooling thermal power plants along California’s coast is substantially below what’s required by the State Water Resources Control Board’s policy to phase out use of seawater, a March 8 California Energy Commission analysis shows. First, plant owners have re-powered many facilities to eliminate use of ocean water and have shut […]

Calpine to Restart Delta Energy Center at a Scaled-Back Level in Wake of a Fire

8 Mar

Calpine will restart its Delta Energy Center plant in Contra Costa County as a simple cycle peaking plant to help maintain grid reliability in the San Francisco Bay area after a fire damaged a steam turbine there that had made it a more efficient and higher rated combined cycle plant. The California Energy Commission approved […]


7 Mar

An explosion killed a worker at the Sentinel power plant north of Palm Springs on March 6. Cal-OSHA and the California Energy Commission are probing what went wrong at the 800 MW gas-fired power plant which opened in 2013. Meanwhile, the plant is still operating. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power hopes to […]

Two Calpine Plants Set for Reliability Must-Run Designations

6 Mar

The California Independent System Operator is proposing to designate two Sacramento Valley power plants as reliability must-run units when the long-term power purchase agreements for their output expire at the end of this year. “We’re not aware of any short-term alternatives,” said Neil Millar, executive director of infrastructure development for the grid operator, during a […]