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Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

Utilities Benefit from New Climate Prediction Tools

29 Aug

Climate change is affecting energy utilities in a wide variety of ways and the pace of change is expected to quicken in the years ahead. However, utilities are beginning to benefit from new predictive tools the state has developed to help them plan future facilities that are adapted to a warmer climate. “It’s incumbent on […]

CPUC Okays New SDG&E Peak Period

24 Aug

State energy regulators unanimously approved the second phase of San Diego Gas & Electric’s 2016-19 general rate case, which includes a shift in the time-of-use peak period and off peak rates. The redesign is part of SDG&E’s allocation of its approved triennial revenue requirement. “Time-of-use rates acknowledge we have an eclipse every day,” Mike Picker, […]

Senate Panel Okays CPUC Appointees

23 Aug

The Senate Rules Committee voted narrowly to confirm Gov. Jerry Brown’s two recent appointees to the California Public Utilities Commission. In separate votes, lawmakers on the five-member panel voted 3-0 Aug. 23 to recommend the Senate approve the appointments of Martha Guzman Aceves and Cliff Rechtschaffen to the commission. Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), […]

Action on PG&E Butte Fire Penalty & EV Subsidy Bills

22 Aug

Legislation to strengthen rural wildfire prevention programs with a penalty payment ordered by utility regulators for Pacific Gas & Electric’s role in triggering the Butte Fire in 2015 cleared the Senate Natural Resources Committee Aug. 22. The bill goes next to the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee. Meanwhile, a separate measure to advance electric […]

CEC Seeks to Overcome Microgrid Hurdles

26 Jul

The California Energy Commission wants to unleash the power of microgrids to make the state’s electric system more resilient an adaptable as energy needs and technologies change. But first, it must figure out how to overcome significant obstacles. Microgrids, which generally consist of local distribution networks supplied by distributed generation resources and are often equipped […]

Shorts

25 Jul

Marin Clean Energy voted to nearly double the number of its customers. The board of California’s first community energy organization approved admitting Contra Costa County, Concord, San Ramon, Pittsburg and five smaller municipalities into its service area. “So we’ve now got 33 communities in total,” Dawn Weisz, MCE executive officer, said July 21. Marin’s customer […]

CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

CEC Faces More Pressure to Reject Puente Power Project

20 Jul

Opposition to NRG’s proposed Puente power plant at the site of an existing power facility on the beach in Oxnard is continuing to build. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks declared her “strong opposition,” and along with others, urged relying on preferred resources. “As renewable energy has become cost-effective and abundant, there is an important question […]

CPUC Trims Utilities’ Return on Equity

13 Jul

Utility regulators July 13 cut the allowable return on equity for the state’s major investor-owned energy utilities between 0.05 percent and 0.15 percent for the years 2018 and 2019. The California Public Utilities Commission also promised to review the future allowable rate. The CPUC decision came this week on July 13 in response to a […]

100% Renewable Bill Sails Ahead

13 Jul

Legislation setting a 100 percent renewable standard by 2045 advanced this week in the Assembly. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed SB 100 by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León July 12 on a 10-4 vote. The next day on July 13, the bill also gained approval by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

Agencies Seek to Get a Grip on Self Generation

3 Jul

State energy agencies and the grid operator are grappling with how to forecast and better measure growing levels of distributed renewable energy flowing into the distribution and transmission systems. Unlike the high voltage system, power flows to and from lower voltage power lines are less transparent. No “adequate methods exist” for forecasting how distributed energy […]

CPUC Adopts 2018 Supply Cushion & Reconsiders Community Energy Fee

29 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 29 approved 5-0 resource adequacy requirements and flexible capacity obligations for electric utilities in 2018. The decision rejected considering multi-year resource adequacy requirements requiring a 15 percent supply cushion on grounds it would have delayed a decision. Commissioner Liane Randolph, the presiding member, added, “We didn’t feel it was […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]

CPUC Rejects $1.5 B Increase for Diablo Decommissioning

25 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approved with no discussion giving Pacific Gas & Electric $2.42 billion to decommission the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and $1.06 billion for the continued decommissioning of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. PG&E earlier this month sought a 65 percent increase of its 2012 estimate to decommission Diablo, from $2.286 billion, […]

Regulators Struggle With Expanding Retail Choice

18 May

State energy regulators are wringing their hands over the flood of ratepayers moving to community choice programs and trying to create some order amid the chaos caused by the upending of the traditional role of private utilities and central planning. California is moving to a competitive retail market, notes a California Public Utilities Commission white […]

Undercurrents: Agencies Aim to End Low-Income Barriers to Clean Energy

17 May

State energy agencies shared their hopes and ideas about how to extend the economic and environmental benefits of alternative energy technologies—from rooftop solar systems to electric cars—to low-income residents at a joint agency meeting May 16. “We don’t have a smooth road to travel,” said Alice Reynolds, an advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown. “We know […]

CPUC to Revise Undergrounding Wire Rules & Provide More Gas Access in Central Valley

11 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved moving to revise its rules on the undergrounding of utility electric wires, including how undergrounding projects are chosen and who pays. The rulemaking approved May 11 is aimed at helping determine which underground projects are in the public interest, including how much to focus in urban, suburban, rural […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Resorts to Ex Parte Tactics on Diablo Decommissioning Decision

10 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will meet next Monday, May 15, in commissioners’ offices at the California Public Utilities Commission to lobby against an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to grant it $2.3 billion of ratepayer money for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The decision cut the utility’s original request by $1.5 billion. Matt […]