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New Energy Bills Pile Up Before Deadline

14 Feb

As lawmakers work furiously to meet a Feb. 15 deadline for introducing new legislation in Sacramento, numerous energy-related measures were introduced as of Feb. 13. In the Senate, new measures would backfill the loss of local government revenue in San Luis Obispo County projected to result from the upcoming closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear […]

CAISO Pitches RMR Changes to Improve Playing Field

31 Jan

The grid operator is proposing to add must offer obligations to its reliability must run mechanism to ameliorate protests over the deals it signed last year. During a Jan. 30 stakeholder meeting, California Independent System Operator staff proposed revising its controversial RMR contracting mechanism to put contracts on par with utility resource adequacy agreements. Utilities […]

Shorts

30 Jan

Updated Feb. 1 The California Energy Commission unveiled its latest proposal to require disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions in conjunction with annual reports disclosing the power sources of load serving entities. The proposal, which would implement AB 1110, would disqualify unbundled renewable energy credits from being claimed as greenhouse gas reductions, among other changes. CEC […]

Undercurrents

23 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a statewide fire threat map highlighting areas with higher and extreme risks from utility associated wildfires. The state fire threat map, approved Jan. 19, ranks fire hazards to people and property. It also aims to implement new CPUC fire-safety rules, including on utility vegetation management. The new rules require […]

Bill May Increase Diablo Closure Costs

17 Jan

Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) plans to introduce legislation to restore all or part of the $85 million in proposed mitigation funds for San Luis Obispo area communities that the California Public Utilities Commission excluded in its Jan. 11 closure decision for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Monning has not yet determined the amount or the […]

Choice Program & Utility Reps Inch Towards Exit Fee Deal

17 Jan

Utilities and community choice aggregators this week worked to find common ground on transferring utility power portfolios to community choice programs and direct access providers to replace exit fees imposed on the non-utility organizations by the California Public Utilities Commission. The parties outlined their alternatives during a Jan. 16-17 CPUC workshop held as part of […]

FERC Rejects Coal & Nuclear Subsidies

8 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Jan. 8 turned down Secretary of Energy Rick Perry’s proposal to provide price supports to coal and nuclear power plants in wholesale electricity markets. Perry had proposed “resilience” payments to the plants as long as they keep 60-day supplies of fuel on hand. His proposal faced significant opposition from the […]

CAISO Raises Pay for Replacement Power, Inches Up Budget

14 Dec

The grid operator’s board Dec. 14 approved allowing more flexible resources to come online soon after unexpected transmission disruptions. The newly approved modeling enhancement at issue also would increase the compensation paid to resources that come online quickly to rebalance the system. “This has the potential to increase reliability and reduce costs,” said Eric Hildebrandt, […]

Proposal To Replace Calpine RMR Deals with Storage & Alt Energy

13 Dec

A California Public Utilities Commission resolution released Dec. 8 would direct Pacific Gas & Electric to contract next year for sufficient local energy storage and preferred resources to ensure that the reliability-must-run contracts the grid operator entered with three Calpine plants are not renewed after 2018. The California Independent System Operator last month approved one-year […]

PG&E Pitches Replacing Oakland Plant with Clean Power

6 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric is proposing to swap out the 40-year old natural gas-fired power plant owned by Dynegy in Oakland with up to 40 MW of local alternative power supplies and a utility substation upgrade. PG&E wants the California Independent System Operator to approve its plan to develop local clean energy resources, including energy […]

Calpine Sale Faces Court Challenge

6 Dec

The merger plan of the financially struggling Calpine has hit a legal snag. The generating company announced Aug. 17 it reached a buyout deal with private equity firm Energy Capital Partners, but then later was hit with class action suits. Four lawsuits were filed in late October and mid-November in the U.S. District Court for […]

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 Resource 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 […]