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The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

JUICE: Major Forces

31 Mar

The COVID-19 contagion is putting center stage provisions in power purchase agreements that often sit in the wings: those governing the responsibilities and liabilities of the contracting parties, and the timing of their obligations, when an unforeseen disaster or Act of God hits. These “force majeure” clauses, which may include pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and war, […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

Bills Keep Utilities from Benefiting from Wildfire Penalties, Promote Clean Power

5 Mar

Even before Pacific Gas & Electric was hit last Thursday with a $2.14 billion penalty for sparking devastating wildfires in 2017 and 2018, a bill was introduced to prohibit the utility from deducting it or other safety penalties from its tax liability. It would be “obscene” to allow PG&E to take a tax deduction on […]

Generator Earnings Largely Greener Dollar & Power Wise

2 Mar

Merchant generators in California saw mostly improved annual and quarterly earnings in the season’s reports, with the exception of AES. Both its annual and quarterly earnings fell. Some of the firms increased their renewable portfolios and touted their energy storage. Nearly all of the companies committed to reducing emissions. AES: This Virginia-based generator with operations […]

CPUC Rewards Utility Shareholders $43M for Energy Savings, Despite Concerns

27 Feb

Shareholders of three of the four investor-owned utilities were awarded more than $43 million for efficiency program savings funded by ratepayers, in a resolution passed by the California Public Utilities Commission. The awards, approved Feb 27 on a 4-1 vote, cover the 2017 to 2018 period. The lone opponent was Commissioner Marta Guzman Aceves, who […]

JUICE: Smart Inverters Need Smarter Rules

26 Feb

Rarely do inverters make front page news. But they are the stars of the 2019 Integrated Energy Policy Report approved last week by the California Energy Commission. It calls on the energy agencies and grid operator to accelerate research, development, and use of smart inverters to “enhance power quality, decrease grid disturbances, and participate in […]

Clean Economy Hopes & Hurdles Highlighted in IEPR Report

25 Feb

California has successfully decoupled economic growth from energy consumption, a fact highlighted in the new Integrated Energy Policy Report by the California Energy Commission. That’s an indicator that California can attain carbon neutrality before midcentury. But the report says much more work is needed to get there. Between 2000 and 2018, California’s gross state product […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

JUICE: PCIA for Dummies

18 Feb

Community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory struggle with whether to accept nuclear energy from the utility’s Diablo power plant. This year is the first time PG&E has offered community choice entities a share of the nuke’s output, although they’ve paid for it every year since they were formed.   Local clean energy […]

Will the Salton Sea Become Lithium Valley?

13 Feb

The California Energy Commission took a deep dive into the potential for extracting lithium from geothermal plants along the Salton Sea during a Feb. 12 symposium at Stanford University. Removing lithium from the mineral rich and very hot brine in this region in Southern California is full of promise because it’s potentially a world-class source […]

Guest Juice: Is CA Trying to Kill the Community-Scale Generation Market?

10 Feb

The community-scale market segment has been plagued by ongoing policy neglect, and otherwise poor policy choices. Will policymakers heed the track record of demonstrated failure and finally create new programs that address previous problems? Ken Lund Flickr cc California, long a progressive leader on renewable energy and climate change mitigation, has neglected a key market […]

Shorts

4 Feb

Unprecedented levels of solar, wind and geothermal power fueled California’s grid last year. That includes renewable resources meeting 80 percent of the peak electricity demand at one point in the afternoon of May 15, the California Independent System Operator reported Feb 3. Renewables also provided nearly 42 percent of peak demand on Aug. 8, providing […]

House Bill Sets Clean Energy High Bar for All 50 States

30 Jan

One day after pitching legislation setting a national carbon neutrality mandate by 2050, House democrats followed it with a $760 billion package backing it. The huge investment proposal would go to modernize aging infrastructure, making it safer and more resilient to climate change. It also would partially fund the carbon neutrality bill. “This bold framework […]

Western Real Time Market Produces $270M in Savings

30 Jan

Participants of the grid operator’s expanding real-time Western Energy Imbalance Market reaped additional economic and environmental benefits. Those include gross benefits of nearly $61 million for the fourth quarter of last year. For all of 2019, it was nearly $270 million. Increased coordination “creates operational savings and greater integration of variable resources to meet the […]

Guest Juice: Energy Storage Prospects Rise with Fall in Renewable Costs

20 Jan

By Wayne Hicks An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow—is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it’s also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it’s needed. Declining costs in available technologies have propelled interest in energy storage forward like never […]

Senate Energy Panel Okays Outage Penalties, Rejects Big Hydro as Renewable

15 Jan

Legislation that would impose fines on utilities for unreasonable power outages and require them to compensate businesses and other customers harmed by blackouts passed the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee Jan. 15. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) authored SB 378 because private utility “financial incentives err on the side of blackouts.” Weiner accused utilities […]