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Early Renewable Procurement Questioned

20 Nov

As the California Public Utilities Commission moves toward adopting a system-wide plan for buying generation resources and reducing greenhouse gases through 2030, a backlash is growing against requiring all load-serving entities to enter more long-term contracts for renewable energy. The CPUC’s draft Integrated Renewable Plan rolled out last month calls on investor-owned utilities and other […]

Storage Clashes With State Goals

15 Nov

Battery electricity storage systems installed with California Public Utilities Commission-ordered subsidies are boosting peak load and increasing greenhouse gas emissions, according to analyses discussed at a Nov. 15 commission meeting. CPUC Regulatory Analyst Patrick Doherty called the evaluation “bad news.” Figuring out how to ensure systems help achieve the state’s goals of reducing emissions and […]

Shorts

14 Nov

Calpine has set a shareholders’ vote on its merger with Energy Capital Partners for Dec. 15. Under the proposed merger, a subsidiary of Energy Capital Partners known as Volt would purchase Calpine at a price of $15.25 a share. If approved, Calpine stock no longer would be traded, but instead controlled by the Energy Capital […]

Generator Earnings Generally Lower

6 Nov

Independent generator earnings were generally down in the third quarter of 2017, except for bright spots at NextEra and Calpine, with the latter changing hands after ongoing losses. AES, which like most of its generating brethren, is moving to modernize a handful of once-through cooled plants along the Southern California coast, reported a fall in […]

CPUC Rolls Out CA Power System Resource Plan

2 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission laid out its goals for the upcoming integrated resource planning process to guide future procurement of power resources towards a lower carbon future. Under the integrated resource planning process, said CPUC staff member Forest Kaser, the reference plan aims to identify the least-cost approach to meeting the state’s 2030 greenhouse […]

CAISO Okays Resource Adequacy Alternatives With Reservations

2 Nov

The grid operator’s board approved two controversial matters aimed at filling in gaps in the resource adequacy market to keep financially struggling generation assets, which are deemed needed in the short-term, online. In spite of significant concerns, the California Independent System Operator Board voted unanimously for a 2018 reliability-must-run contract for Calpine’s 602 MW Metcalf […]

Shorts

1 Nov

Another merchant generator bites the dust. Dynegy, which has suffered a series of losses,  is being bought by a larger Texas company. That company, Vistra Energy, is to pay $2.3 billion in an all stock sale of Dynegy, which owns 27,000 MW of power generation capacity.  The merger “is expected to create the lowest-cost integrated […]

Quantum Tech Seen as Gold Standard for Grid Security

26 Oct

Ultimately the U.S. must develop quantum communications to prevent its energy infrastructure from remaining vulnerable to cyberattacks, according to cybersecurity specialists. “The ability of hackers to infiltrate grid networks and corrupt these communications is real and growing,” Duncan Earl, president of Quibitekk, told lawmakers during an Oct. 26 U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee […]

Solar & Storage Project Aims to Cut Muni’s Gas Use

19 Oct

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is eyeing whether it can downsize a planned natural gas power plant in Utah designed to replace the coal-fired Intermountain Power Plant when it closes in 2025, according to the muni’s general manager. LADWP General Manager Dave Wright told the muni’s board Oct. 18 that it might […]

JUICE: A Gas Free Diet

11 Oct

California’s leadership finally seems to have developed an energy policy menu that will achieve its ambitious goal to slim greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent. Recent decisions and actions pouring out of the kitchens in Sacramento and San Francisco significantly cut back on the amount of natural gas entrees to achieve bona fide low-carbon cooking. […]

Upcoming Nuptials for CA Power Plants

11 Oct

A large portion of traditional and renewable power generation assets is changing hands in California. Approximately 15,000 MW of assets now owned by Calpine and NRG will soon have new owners.  In addition, the status of a handful of gas-fired plants owned by NRG subsidiary GenOn is in flux. Calpine—which owns more than 6,000 MW […]

Puente Project Gets Shot Down

6 Oct

NRG’s construction license application for its 261 MW Puente natural gas-fired project on the beach in Ventura County was blown out of the water Oct. 6. “On the record currently before us, we are unwilling to override the significant impacts or [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] inconsistencies” posed by the project, states the proposed decision […]

The Buzz

5 Oct

A top legislative staffer gives an insider’s look at the fallout from the governor’s ill-fated effort to push through a bill to create an integrated western grid in the waning days of the legislative session. Electric transportation advocates flock to a meeting this week on the California Air Resources Board’s plan to give away $1.5 […]

JUICE: Energy Hangover

4 Oct

California’s continuing drive to clean up the electricity sector has big pluses, but also minuses. The latter includes unintended consequences. Last week, the drawbacks were on display at the Independent Energy Producers Association’s annual conference next to the stunning Fallen Leaf Lake above Lake Tahoe. The meeting marked yet another in a more than three-decades-long […]

Puente Project May Land Back at CPUC

3 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 3 resumed closed-door sessions in the construction licensing proceeding for NRG’s proposed 271 MW natural-gas fired Puente power project in Oxnard. The commission’s staff and California Independent System Operator, however, concluded that only the California Public Utilities Commission can resolve the issue of whether Southern California Edison should buy “preferred […]

The Buzz

29 Sep

A future as predictable as a Ouiji board was a central theme at the Independent Energy Producer’s annual meeting this week amid mounting uncertainty from the changing role of utilities and the scarcity of contracts for generators. Speaking of contracts, and lack of them, utility regulators this week nixed a deal between Southern California Edison […]

Grappling with the Grid’s Horizon

28 Sep

Continuing to lower greenhouse gas emissions and raise California’s renewable standard in a changing electricity sector where utilities are shrinking worries the industry. “Where is the future going?” Ron Nichols, Southern California Edison president asked during the Independent Energy Producers annual conference held earlier this week. He took issue with the state separately pursing climate […]

Regulators Reject Edison’s Ellwood Plant Deal

28 Sep

After almost three years, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to turn down a planned 10-year contract by Southern California Edison to purchase 54 MW of power from NRG’s natural gas-fired Ellwood power plant in Goleta. Instead, the commission Sept. 28 ordered Edison to “to determine whether any identified need can be met in a […]

Shorts

25 Sep

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposal to facilitate aggregated energy storage and distributed energy resources to participate in wholesale power markets has drawn wide support in comments filed on the federal agency’s proposal, according to an analysis released Sept. 27 by the Solar Electric Power Alliance and the Edison Electric Institute. However, the two organizations’ […]

Undercurrents: CA Sues Feds for Halting Penalty Increase for Fuel Efficiency Violations

12 Sep

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed suit against the Trump Administration Sept. 11 for delaying a rule increasing the fine on car manufacturers that fail to meet federal fuel efficiency standards. “More fuel-efficient cars on our roads means cleaner air, better overall health for our children, and savings at the pump for consumers,” Becerra said. “We will […]