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CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

Montali Rules FERC Has No Say over PG&E Power Deals

10 Jun

A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled in Pacific Gas & Electric’s favor on who controls the more than $40 billion in PG&E’s renewable and gas power purchase agreements. Judge Dennis Montali held that his court, not federal energy regulators, has say over the multi-million dollar deals signed by PG&E. The utility is in the midst […]

Juice: Uncle Joe Offers Climate Change Hope

4 Jun

News flash: Joe Biden just released a $1.7 trillion climate change plan as part of his Presidential campaign platform. While on the late side compared to others, including candidates who spent last weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Biden’s plan may well be just as sweeping in its ambition. First and foremost, […]

The Buzz

30 May

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire. Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is […]

Opinionated: Solar+Storage Challenges Gas Peakers

28 May

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Gas peakers have been around well before the recent rise of renewables made them even more indispensible. How else could grid operators fill in the void created by the vanishing solar generation when the sun sets at the end of the day or when wind stops spinning the wind turbines’ blades? And […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Ratepayer Advocates Fail to Get Official Status

28 May

Updated May 29 The federal bankruptcy court judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case rejected creating a formal ratepayer committee. If  approved, it would have required the utility to pay the committee’s legal tab. “Wall Street bankers will be calling the shots, demanding a ratepayer bailout to keep PG&E profitable,” Mark Toney, The Utility […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Focus on Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology

21 May

Updated May 22. A U.S. Senate panel heard encouraging news about the advance of renewable power and energy efficiency this week despite the ongoing drum beat in Washington about the need to preserve coal power plants and drill for more oil. Wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of power over the next […]

FERC Reiterates Support for Storage, Sees Solid Summer Supply in CA

16 May

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 3-1 vote cast May 16 denied a rehearing request of its orders seeking to advance participation of energy storage technologies in wholesale power markets. The orders included prohibiting states from not feeding their storage resources into the wholesale market. “Energy storage,” said Neil Chatterjee, FERC chair, “has the […]

High Hydro A Boon to Grid this Summer

15 May

The abundant precipitation and above average snow water content this winter means lots of hydropower this summer, leading to a “very low probability” of grid system shortages, the California Independent System Operator reported May 15. The snow content reaching 162 percent of average means “very robust hydro this year,” Bob Emmert, CAISO interconnection resources manager, […]

Fog City Explores Take Over of PG&E Wires

14 May

If San Francisco replaced bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric’s power delivery services and assets with its public utility, the city could reap considerable benefits. That is according to an explorative study by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff released May 13. “While any sort of acquisition of PG&E property would be a lengthy process, […]

Inside The Beltway: Sparks Fly Over DOE Budget

9 May

Energy Secretary Rick Perry covered the water front of U.S. energy issues May 9 during a House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2020. Perry told lawmakers that the department’s $31.7 billion request for the coming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would help sustain “recent historic economic […]

CPUC Calls for 12,000 MW of Renewables

25 Apr

State utility regulators April 25 acted on the first integrated resource plans from 48 power providers in California under their jurisdiction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved plans from 20 load serving entities. It also exempted nine from the planning requirement, and determined that another 19 submitted inadequate plans. Overall, according to Commissioner Liane Randolph, […]

Senate Panel Backs Irrigation Big Hydro as Renewable

24 Apr

A state Senate committee April 24 voted to let the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts meet their renewable portfolio standard requirements with power generated by the 203 MW Don Pedro Hydropower Project on the Tuolumne River. Today, power from such large dams is not considered eligible as a renewable resource. The panel also backed bills […]

Juice: Arnold’s Lasting Legacy

24 Apr

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Cal-EPA Secretary strolled down memory lane on Earth Day 2019 to assess the former governor’s chief achievements on clean energy and the environment. In a keynote address at the California Institute of Technology’s Earth Day program, Terry Tamminen breezed over what most Californians might think was Schwarzenegger’s key legacy, namely carbon […]

Shorts

16 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric was one of three companies fined by federal energy regulators for violating cyber security protection rules, according to the Wall Street Journal. PG&E along with DTE Energy was sanctioned. David Ortiz, deputy director of FERC’s Office of Electric Reliability, told the Journal that although there are many cyberattacks, utilities rarely report […]

Shorts

9 Apr

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week became a fully operational member of the grid operator’s energy imbalance market. SMUD is the first municipal utility to join the short-term market, which the California Independent System Operator created in 2014 to better integrate renewable power into the grid and to lower the overall cost of power. […]

The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

Opinionated: Charging With the Sun

19 Mar

By Severin Borenstein You aren’t getting “green electrons”, but charging at the right times still lowers GHG emissions. I spent a fascinating few days at the California Independent System Operator last month, following my appointment in January to the CAISO’s Board of Governors. The most exciting part was getting to visit the CAISO grid control […]

PG&E’s Proposal to Break Green Deals Raises Costs

19 Mar

If Pacific Gas & Electric is allowed to abrogate its long-term renewable contracts as part of a bankruptcy reorganization, bankers will increase the risk premiums on clean energy project loans. That will drive up the price of renewable resources in California, attorneys warned at a legal seminar held March 18 by the Environmental Law Institute […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]