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CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

CEC Faces More Pressure to Reject Puente Power Project

20 Jul

Opposition to NRG’s proposed Puente power plant at the site of an existing power facility on the beach in Oxnard is continuing to build. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks declared her “strong opposition,” and along with others, urged relying on preferred resources. “As renewable energy has become cost-effective and abundant, there is an important question […]


18 Jul

The House Energy & Commerce Committee began delving into how the nation’s electricity markets are functioning July 18. During the first of two hearings, the general assessment by a panel of utility and generator representatives was that the nation’s power industry is in the midst of rapid change, which is driving down the wholesale price […]

Cap-&-Trade Impacts Poor Neighborhoods

6 Jul

How to ensure both greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants are reduced in struggling polluted communities was the focus of a Joint Legislative Climate Change Policies Committee hearing held July 5. The panel members seek “to understand what is happening, and what work needs to be done,” said chair Assemblymember Edward Garcia (D-Coachella). While overall […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

“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 […]

Calls for Conservation Protect the Grid

22 Jun

A flex alert issued for June 21 and 22 helped the state grid get though the worst of the persistent heat wave that gripped California this week without any major outages. Power demand peaked on June 20 at 44,184 MW, compared to an all-time high of 50,270 MW during the summer heat storm of 2006, […]

Ventura Clean Power Alternatives Study Begins

22 Jun

The grid operator late last week agreed to study whether preferred resources—including renewable power and energy storage and efficiency—could be substituted for a proposed fossil fuel power plant in Oxnard to meet Ventura County’s power needs. Replacement power is necessary because two old power plants there are slated to shut down at the end of […]

CEC OKs Ventura Preferred Resources Study

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission agreed June 12 to have the grid operator study if Ventura County could meet an expected shortfall in local power supplies with preferred resources instead of a gas-fired power plant proposed on Oxnard’s beachfront. The study is to be completed by mid-July. “After years of fighting for clean air for Oxnard, […]

Can Clean Power Avoid Gas Plant Rebuilds, LADWP Asks

6 Jun

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power has halted efforts to repower its existing natural gas-fired power plants in the Los Angeles Basin until it can conduct a system-wide assessment of whether the plants will be needed in the future. At a June 6 meeting of the muni’s board, staff outlined its plan to […]

CEC Still Weighing Clean Resource Study for Ventura

6 Jun

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 8. The California Energy Commission soon will issue a written decision on whether to request the California Independent System Operator to examine if “preferred resources” can meet power reliability needs in Ventura County as an alternative to a new gas-fired power plant. Energy Commission Hearing Officer Paul Kramer […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Set to Adopt Interim Fix for Power Imports

31 May

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 1. For the past several years, the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies have struggled with how to capture emissions related to imports of power into California in the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program. They’ve chiefly focused on a problem originally called resource shuffling. The effort became […]

CEC Weighs Clean Alternatives to Coastal Plant

30 May

The California Energy Commission wants the grid operator’s input on whether a proposed gas-fired power plant along the coast in Oxnard is necessary to ensure energy reliability in Ventura County and, if so, whether clean resources could suffice. A committee that’s running the licensing proceeding for NRG’s proposed 271 MW Puente project will meet June […]


30 May

Gov. Jerry Brown announced formation of the U.S. Climate Alliance after President Trump announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Brown also noted he will propose linking California’s carbon market with China’s during his upcoming trip to China. Joining the state climate accord are New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington […]


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 […]