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CPUC Resource Adequacy Action to Have Little Impact on CCAs

15 Feb

Community choice aggregation programs won’t be hampered or delayed in forming anew or expanding in the wake of a California Public Utilities Commission action last week. That’s according to Beth Vaughn, California Community Choice Association executive director. Vaughn predicted that up to twelve new community choice programs will be launched this year, including the two […]

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 […]

CPUC Extends Supply Cushion Mandate to Community Choice

8 Feb

State energy regulators on a 5-0 vote approved a controversial measure to extend the California Public Utilities Commission’s resource adequacy authority over community energy programs. The resolution was on the California Public Utilities Commission’s Feb. 9 consent agenda, but was discussed during Thursday’s meeting because of significant opposition from choice advocates up and down the […]

JUICE: A Legislative Energy Agenda

6 Feb

As the Legislature gathers steam in Sacramento, numerous key energy-related issues are ripe for action, from how to deal with over-capacity in the state’s power market to the extent to which electric utilities should be liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Energy agencies are attempting to deal with some of the conflicts—for instance, exit […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Fire Risks Require Land & Building Changes, CPUC Told

1 Feb

Fire safety scientists and engineers predict California will face mounting danger from wildfires in the coming decade due to climate change regardless of what energy utilities do to reduce the chances that their equipment may ignite blazes. The chief way to prevent a mounting toll of death, injury, and property damage, they told the California […]

Undercurrents

1 Feb

Community choice advocates are planning to protest Feb. 8, just before  the California Public Utilities Commission’s voting meeting,  in hopes of derailing a fast track resolution they say would effectively freeze choice program formations for two years. Their ire is aimed at CPUC President Mike Picker, who they claim is trying to railroad through a […]

Science Panel Sees New Wine in Old Gas Storage Field Bottles

18 Jan

An independent state science panel concluded this week that California will continue to be reliant on natural gas storage facilities through 2020 to meet its energy needs, particularly for winter heating and power. Looking longer term, the panel suggested that California study how the storage fields will fit into a decarbonized economy. It suggested, for […]

JUICE: Cazalet Pitches Plan to Grow Energy Storage

17 Jan

Energy storage technologies are considered by lawmakers, regulators, and many others as a key way to balance the ebb and flow of higher levels of intermittent solar and wind power feeding California’s grid. However, the growth of various storage technologies, which can store excess renewable flows and release the juice at times of high demand, […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

16 Jan

The world’s energy supply increasingly is being dominated by solar and wind technologies, the International Energy Agency told U.S. lawmakers. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Jan. 16 that by 2040 renewable technologies will produce 40 percent of the world’s electricity. Solar will dominate the march of […]

Bill Seeks to Halt Cost Recovery in Utility-Sparked Fires

3 Jan

In one of the first pieces of utility-related legislation of the year, a group of state senators and Assembly  members Jan 3 introduced a bill to prohibit utilities from recovering from ratepayers uninsured costs related to wildfires sparked by electric lines. “The practice is an outrage and it’s time to stop allowing utilities to push […]

Finding the Right Balance in Commercial Rates

12 Dec

How to achieve an optimal rate design for non-residential electricity customers that combines important but conflicting state goals, including efficient energy prices and fairness, was debated at a two-day California Public Utilities Commission forum this week. “There is a tradeoff between efficiency and equity, and a tradeoff between efficiency and simplicity,” Bob Levin, CPUC senior […]

Opinionated: The Diablo Energy Efficiency Opportunity

12 Dec

Editor’s Note: The California Public Utilities Commission was set to vote Dec. 14 on the decision to reduce funding for Pacific Gas & Electric to close its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant from $1.76 billion to $172 million. However,  the commission announced at the start of the Thursday business meeting that a vote on the proposed […]

Proposed Gas Hookup Moratorium for LA Draws Opposition

7 Dec

State energy agencies are pressing Los Angeles County to freeze gas hookups for newly constructed homes and businesses in the face of feared “gas service interruptions” this winter. Three natural gas pipelines are out of service and the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field’s has limited capacity to inject gas into the local pipeline system. […]

Undercurrents

5 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric upped its game on energy storage Dec. 4 by seeking approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to enter into six new contracts with a total storage capacity of 165 MW. “These contracts and the storage capacity they represent will help us better integrate our growing renewable generation sources, and bring […]

Zero Net Energy Construction Goal Faces Critical Review

30 Nov

The state’s much vaunted strategy to require that all new homes built beginning in 2020 are zero net energy is being re-examined as the California Energy Commission begins to set building codes to enforce the goal. A key development that may weigh on the future of zero net energy is a new study that claims […]

So Cal Faces Tight Winter Gas Supply, State Says

28 Nov

Demand response programs aimed at reducing residential and commercial customers’ natural gas use in Southern California are considered key to avoiding possible fuel shortages this winter because of projected supply crimps. A state assessment released Nov. 28 figures that the risk of natural gas curtailments this winter is greater than last year, driving up the […]

Negawatt Providers Seek a Mandate

21 Nov

California regulators and policymakers say they want to see increases in demand response to reduce peak load and help balance out intermittent renewable resources. Despite the lip service, the amount of negawatt capacity reaped from the residential and commercial/industrial sectors has fallen since 2011, particularly from third-party aggregators working with the investor-owned utilities. “There is […]

Aggregators Contest CPUC Control Over Resource Planning

20 Nov

As the California Public Utilities Commission moves toward adopting a decision that sets parameters for its new integrated resource planning process for power utilities and other load serving entities, community choice aggregators want to get out from under CPUC authority. The California Community Choice Association maintains that community aggregators, like Marin Clean Energy and others, […]