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Assembly Energy Panel Passes Wildfire Liability Bills

21 Jun

Over major opposition, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed legislation to create a separate safety proceeding for investor-owned utilities at the California Public Utilities Commission. If utilities are deemed in compliance with safety regulations to be developed with input from the Office of Emergency Services, then ratepayers would be on the hook for the […]

The Buzz

8 Jun

The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators’ door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos. Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed […]

LADWP Budget Serves as Lightening Rod

22 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board May 22 adopted a $5.4 billion budget for the muni’s power system for fiscal year 2018-19. Approval, however, came amid controversy over the department’s future reliance on natural gas power, its comparatively meager emphasis on energy efficiency in rental housing, and its ongoing inability to systematically […]

Shorts

15 May

SoCal Gas showcased a new solar-powered hydrogen generation system May 17. It uses sunlight to convert natural gas and water into hydrogen and capture the carbon dioxide to prevent carbon emissions. The project is a partnership between SoCal Gas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the STARS Corp. The solar advanced reactor system “produces hydrogen through […]

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 […]

More Generators Earnings Higher than Lower

8 May

Generators saw improved earnings during the first quarter of 2018, with the exception of Vistra, which took over Dynegy. AES: With major power plants in California, this worldwide energy company saw $684 million in earnings in the first quarter of 2018 compared to a loss of $24 million in the first quarter of 2017. On […]

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 […]

Bills to Aid Gas Plants, School Energy Bills & Reduce Building Emissions Advance

26 Apr

Measures to increase payments to needed, but struggling gas power plants in California, to assess how to increase the use of electric air and space heating in homes, and to extend intervenor compensation to schools were sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed these and other energy bills April […]

FERC Spotlights Uplift Payments & Pipeline Project Review

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission April 19 unanimously approved rules to increase transparency on above market payments grid operators make to resources needed for reliability and to speed up interconnection agreements for generating resources 20 MW and larger. The regulators also launched a review of the agency’s 1999 intrastate gas pipeline project certification process. “Uplift […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

FERC Kills CAISO’s Protection of Designated Gas Plants

18 Apr

The California Independent System Operator’s proposal to increase payments to gas power plants deemed needed for reliability, but lacking supply cushion contracts, was rejected by federal energy regulators. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the California grid operator’s proposed capacity procurement mechanism tariff was “unjust and unreasonable.” FERC found that because the grid operator’s […]

Bills to Electrify Homes, Increase Utility Safety Violations Advance

3 Apr

Gaining ground this week were bills to electrify home water and space heating, mandate that private utilities report potential safety violations, and allow select munis to continue operating young gas-fired power plants they’re paying off. Over objections April 3, the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved SB 1477 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park). […]

The Buzz

29 Mar

Facing massive liability lawsuits for its potential role in igniting wildfires that scorched Santa Rosa and other Wine Country communities last fall, Pacific Gas & Electric argues it’s not subject to claims based on the legal doctrine of inverse condemnation. With hot weather just around the corner, state regulators order SoCal Gas to quickly fill […]

SoCal Gas Ordered to Fill Gas Storage Fields

28 Mar

SoCal Gas is under a state regulatory order to accelerate the storage of natural gas to prepare for summer demand because company pipelines remain out of service. The closed pipelines, which have been offline for months, hamper import capacity into the Los Angeles metro area. California Public Utilities Commission Executive Director Alice Stebbins called the […]

Green Light for Oakland Plant Clean Power Replacement

27 Mar

The grid operator approved Pacific Gas & Electric’s proposal to replace the polluting 40-year old Oakland power plant with 20-45 MW of clean energy resources in 2022. The California Independent System Operator okayed the resource swap the same day it approved Southern California Edison’s additional transmission line to serve Moorpark. Although Oakland is served by […]

FERC Pact Slashes Tab for Calpine Reliability Deals

26 Mar

The cost of the controversial reliability must run contracts the grid operator signed with Calpine last year was substantially cut under a settlement approved by federal energy regulators. Calpine’s annual revenue cost for its 605 MW Metcalf plant in San Jose was reduced from a proposed $72.46 million to $43 million under an agreement between […]

CAISO Okays Generator Revenue & Transmission Congestion Improvements

22 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted significant reforms to its wholesale power market March 22 to bolster revenues for natural gas power plant generators and curtail speculative profits stemming from transmission congestion. In a decision that will change the way gas generators offer their power in the California Independent System Operator’s market, the operator’s board adopted […]

Bill Backfills Diablo Nuke Employee Incentives & San Luis Obispo Revenue

19 Mar

Legislation would restore $215 million for employee retention and community mitigation cut by state regulators from a proposed agreement on the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Sen. Bill Monning (R-Carmel) March 16 followed through on his pledge to fully reinstate ratepayer funding for those proposed terms for shutting down the […]

Major Power Plant Retirements in So Cal

14 Mar

Merchant generators struggling in California are closing and selling off gas-fired generating facilities to stem the flow of red ink. After contracts for the output of three aging natural gas power plants in Southern California owned by NRG subsidiary, GenOn, were not renewed, the company threw in the towel. Slated for retirement over six months […]

Generator Earnings Remain Largely in the Doldrums

7 Mar

Updated March 8. Independent generating companies with plants in California predominantly suffered lower earnings and losses last year. The exception was NextEra, which reported both higher annual earnings and final quarter income for 2017. Below is a summary of the earnings reports for major generators. The companies, however, present their results in different ways. AES: […]