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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 […]

LA Mayor Nixes LADWP Gas Plant Rebuilds

11 Feb

Updated Feb. 12. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Feb. 12 announced that the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power will forgo rebuilding three aging gas-fired coastal power plants. Instead, they will be replaced with renewable energy. “This is the beginning of the end of natural gas in Los Angeles,” said Garcetti. “The climate crisis […]

Undercurrents: Drawing the Unaffordable vs. Affordable Rate Line

22 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission took its first step towards getting its arms around the cumulative impacts of its decisions on financially struggling ratepayers. “There is a lot of stake in this proceeding,” said Cliff Rechtschaffen, presiding commissioner, during the Jan. 22 CPUC workshop. He said at issue are the safety, reliability and affordability of […]

State Regulators Scrutinize Surging So Cal Energy Prices

16 Jan

Southern Californians are paying more for natural gas and electricity due to the aging and failing natural gas supply system run by SoCal Gas. Due to limited capacity to deliver gas to homes, businesses, and power generators, the price of gas in Southern California was 134 percent higher during the months of July through September […]

Undercurrents: PG&E is up Against a Liability & Ratings Wall

8 Jan

With Pacific Gas & Electric facing ever growing liability for the last two years of devastating fires, all bets are off as to what it will do to stay afloat. Among the options on the table is a possible sale of its natural gas division. According to an NPR news report Jan. 7, this proposal […]

Shorts

17 Dec

As the year ends, CAISO is still reviewing plans to close AES’s Redondo Beach power plant in the Los Angeles Basin. The 1,342 MW gas-fired power plant along the coast uses ocean water for cooling and must quit doing so under a state marine protection policy. AES plans to close the plant in two years […]

Undercurrents: Morro Bay Eyes Ocean Wind Project Benefits

11 Dec

A project developer entered an agreement late  last month with the city of Morro Bay aimed at creating local benefits if a 650 MW offshore wind farm is eventually built about 30 miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Castle Wind and the city struck the community benefits deal Nov. 29. It seeks […]

Shorts

10 Dec

A dozen-and-a-half Democratic U.S. Senators called on the newest member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to abstain from voting on energy matters on which he previously took strong stances, including on fossil fuel subsidies. Bernard McNamee played an active role in seeking price supports for nuclear and coal resources from FERC when working at […]

SDG&E Wants Out of Power Supply Business

29 Nov

San Diego Gas & Electric, which has some of the highest power rates in the nation, wants to jettison its role of providing power to customers and become strictly an electricity transmission and distribution company. The utility says it’s primarily motivated by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to form a community aggregation program in […]

Shorts

18 Nov

Strategies for reducing the number of investor-owned utility power shutoffs are expected to be released next month, said California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves. She headed a Nov. 19 workshop as part of the proceeding she is overseeing on how to reduce the number of disconnections and improve reconnections. Disconnections of residential ratepayers gas […]

CAISO Aims for 15-Minute Day-Ahead Market

14 Nov

The grid operator adopted additional enhancements to its interconnection process Nov. 14, including requiring wind and solar generators to install inverters in new projects or upgraded inverters in existing facilities so they continue to operate during transmission line voltage faults. The California Independent System Operator’s action this week also incorporated two other improvements into its […]

Generator Earnings Are a Mixed Bag

6 Nov

Updated Nov. 8. Three of the handful of independent generators’ operating in California saw a rise in their latest earnings, while the others saw them fall. AES: This giant global power company had net earnings during the third quarter of 2018 of $101 million, or 15 cents a share, compared to $152 million, or 23 […]

Undercurrents: Solar Gets Thumbs Up, Gas & Coal a Thumbs Down

6 Nov

EDF Renewable’s proposed 500 MW photovoltaic project slated for public land in the desert of Riverside County was approved by the Bureau of Land Management. “The Palen Solar Project will provide benefits to the local community and the region both now and in the future, demonstrating the critical role multiple-use public lands play for the […]

Undercurrents

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 18. To meet California’s ambitious 100 percent clean energy mandate, natural gas-fired space and water heaters need to be phased out. The ideal replacement is efficient electric heat pump technology, according to a new report, Decarbonization of Heating Energy Use in California Buildings: Technology, Markets, Impacts, and Policy Solutions. “Switching to electric heat […]