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LADWP Plans to Run Gas Plant on Renewable Hydrogen

10 Dec

Controversy over a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power decision to replace a 1,800 MW coal-fired power plant in Utah with a smaller natural-gas-fired unit may result in an environmentally friendly overhaul.  The muni is considering running the planned combined cycle generating facility with renewable hydrogen. Under a plan discussed by the muni Dec. […]

Third Quarter Generator Earnings in the Black

12 Nov

AES: This Virginia-based generator with operations in California saw better earnings in the third quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year. Net income was $298 million, or 32 cents a share, compared to $191 million, or 15 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. AES President Andrés Gluski called the […]

The Buzz

10 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric’s handling of its unprecedented power shutoffs to more than 700,000 has customers and regulators up in arms. PG&E also doesn’t get a warm reception in bankruptcy court. The judge rejects its effort to again have him ignore a competing plan to reorganize PG&E’s massive debts. Over at the California Public Utilities […]

CPUC Faces Opposition to Protecting Gas Plants

10 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission was met a by a string of protesters Oct. 10 who objected to the commission’s proposed Integrated Resource Plan to extend the life of aging gas plants. Considering adding three years to the life of seawater-cooled gas power plants, predominantly along the Southern California coast, pays “little regard to the […]

FERC Okays CAISO Backstop Procurement Changes

2 Oct

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Sept. 27 approved California Independent System Operator tariff revisions to give the grid operator more leeway in awarding reliability-must-run power contracts to aging gas power plants. FERC approved the CAISO backstop power supply tariff revisions on a 2-1 vote over the dissent of Commissioner Richard Glick, the sole Democrat on the […]

LADWP Solar/Storage Deal Faces Union Opposition

4 Sep

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board next week is expected to take up for a second time a proposed contract negotiated by the muni’s staff for the output of a 375 MW solar plant firmed by a 1,200 MWh battery storage system. However, its biggest union favors rebuilding local gas-fired plants. LADWP […]

Generator Earnings Generally Muted

6 Aug

Updated Aug. 8. Independent generators with operations in California showed mixed results in the second quarter of 2019, though NextEra enjoyed a major boost in net income. Here is a summary of their latest earnings reports. AES: This Virginia-based global energy company earned $17 million in the second quarter of 2019, or 2 cents a […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

Opinionated: Solar+Storage Challenges Gas Peakers

28 May

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Gas peakers have been around well before the recent rise of renewables made them even more indispensible. How else could grid operators fill in the void created by the vanishing solar generation when the sun sets at the end of the day or when wind stops spinning the wind turbines’ blades? And […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Ratepayer Advocates Fail to Get Official Status

28 May

Updated May 29 The federal bankruptcy court judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case rejected creating a formal ratepayer committee. If  approved, it would have required the utility to pay the committee’s legal tab. “Wall Street bankers will be calling the shots, demanding a ratepayer bailout to keep PG&E profitable,” Mark Toney, The Utility […]

State Faces Tighter Power Supplies, CPUC Warns

23 May

California is becoming increasingly dependent on out-of-state power to meet peak needs. At the same time, concerns about the state’s increasing vulnerability to the  exercise of “market power,” which could spike prices, is rising, according to a California Public Utilities Commission official. “There’s a general tightening of resource adequacy supply,” Simon Baker, Energy Division deputy […]

Mitigation Fee Proposed for Water-Cooled Plants

15 May

A phase out of the use of seawater to cool spinning turbines in power plants was mandated in 2010 to reduce coastal ecosystem harm. Since 2015, plant owners have been allowed to pay annual mitigation fees until they slash use of once-through-cooling or shut down their facilities. The annual fee rises with the amount of […]

Generators in the Black this Year

7 May

Power generators reported brighter outlooks at the end of the first quarter of 2019. But, three reported lower earnings and two higher. They have released their first quarter earnings statements over the past couple weeks. The details are as follows: AES: In the first quarter of 2019, Virginia-based AES earned $154 million, or 23 cents […]

Undercurrents: Electric Car Sales Show Strong Growth

9 Apr

Californians are buying electric vehicles at an increasing rate, according to sales data tracked by Veloz, a non-profit that aims to promote electric transportation. Sales of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles totaled 13,736 last month. So far this year dealers have racked up 30,745 in total sales of such models, an increase […]

CAISO Addresses Backstop Procurement

28 Mar

In a marathon meeting March 27, the California Independent System Operator’s board approved several enhancements to the grid operator’s backstop power purchasing programs. They are employed to fill power supply gaps often in local areas. The grid operator also addressed the potential exercise of market power, particularly in the energy imbalance market. Before acting on […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

CEC Backs Battery System for Black Start Operations

12 Mar

The California Energy Commission March 12 cleared the way for NRG to install a 7 MW battery facility at its Marsh Landing power plant in Antioch. It will be used to provide needed power for black start operations at the plant. Last year the California Independent System Operator designated the 760 MW simple-cycle plant, which […]

Some Generators See Brighter Earnings

7 Mar

The 2018 earnings results for merchant generators with facilities in California were brighter, with the exception of AltaGas. AES: This giant global power company’s net earnings for 2018 rose sharply to $1.203 billion, or $1.82 a share. That is compared to a loss in 2017 of 1.16 billion, or minus $1.74/share. AES’s fourth quarter earnings […]

The Buzz

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s and Southern California Edison’s $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab. State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a […]

Changes to RA Approved; SDG&E Deal Okayed

21 Feb

State energy regulators unanimously agreed Feb. 21 to a three-year resource adequacy requirement beginning in 2020. As part of that decision they also agreed to move towards a central procurement authority. The California Public Utilities Commission also approved San Diego Gas & Electric’s resource adequacy agreement with the Otay Mesa plant. The approved decision making […]