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Juice: Sun Breaks through Market Clouds for Generators

13 Aug

Much attention has focused on the state’s biggest investor-owned utility’s struggles with potentially overwhelming liability from wildfire damage, with the other two utilities impacted. Meanwhile, merchant generators operating in California have struggled for years, generating far fewer headlines. All of the merchant companies, which are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, have been […]

Shorts

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission published the final version of its paper on customer choice for electricity Aug. 7, but it makes no specific policy recommendations. The  final paper proposes scheduling the development of  a separate action plan by this fall that may outline recommendations to deal with the changes sweeping the state’s power industry. […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

Clashing Views on Power Industry Emissions

3 Jul

A legislative hearing on tracking carbon from electrons delivered to Californians quickly turned into a debate about grid regionalization and the impact of community choice aggregators and direct access providers in the state Capitol on July 2. Liane Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission member, said her agency has targeted a reduction of 42 million tons […]

Bill Allowing Unlimited Direct Access Advances

28 Jun

Legislation lifting the cap on the ability of large businesses and industries to be served by non-utility energy service providers passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 27 despite significant opposition, including from the panel chair. SB 237 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), which would remove limits on direct access, was approved […]

Geothermal Procurement Bill Clears Senate Panel

28 Jun

Legislation to require utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers to purchase more geothermal energy, particularly from new facilities being developed at the Salton Sea, cleared a crucial state Senate committee June 27. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee voted 7-2 to advance AB 893 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), who represents Imperial […]

Assembly Panel Backs Senate Energy Bills

26 Jun

A controversial measure to require California natural gas utilities to purchase biomethane gained ground June 25, narrowly passing out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a 6-1 vote. SB 1440 by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) would require the state’s gas utilities to enter contracts for a minimum of ten years by 2020 for […]

Climate Change Roundup: Court Tosses Bay Area Suits Against Oil Firms

26 Jun

Lawsuits brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland seeking damages from the oil majors for climate pollution were dismissed June 25 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The ruling held that greenhouse gas emissions control is a political matter and not one to be decided by a court […]

Assembly 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 […]

Bill Extends Energy Storage Incentive

21 Jun

After approving legislation setting parameters on utility wildfire risks, the Assembly energy panel passed a bill that would add another five years to the program offering incentives to behind-the-meter small energy storage systems. SB 700 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would extend the small energy storage subsidy under the Self Generation Incentive Program. This […]

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 […]