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CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

CEC Backs Solar for All New Homes

9 May

Virtually all new homes built in California beginning in 2020 will have to be outfitted with solar panels and be super efficient under energy efficiency standards for new residential construction approved unanimously by the California Energy Commission May 9. “The marketplace is ready,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who oversaw development of the new building standards. […]

Shorts

25 Apr

Votes on competing decisions to provide subsidies for installing solar rooftops in disadvantaged communities were postponed by the California Public Utilities Commission April 25. Both decisions would provide $10 million/year to the Disadvantaged Communities Solar Homes program, funded by revenue from the Air Resources Board’s carbon allowance market auction. Also included in both decisions is […]

Clean Tech: My Dream All-Electric Granny Flat

9 Apr

I am exploring how to make a granny flat my wife and I plan to build all-electric. We want to eliminate emissions from burning natural gas and take advantage of our solar rooftop. Part of the plan may include upsizing our solar system to cover the additional square footage we’ll add. So with a few […]

Budget Panel Picks Apart Energy Budgets

9 Mar

A Senate budget subcommittee questioned some of the governor’s proposed budget items for the energy agencies, including different funding sources for electric vehicle charging. Included in the new potential funding pots for EV infrastructure is money from the California Energy Commission’s solar homes and air quality programs. “This raises key policy questions,” Legislative Analyst Brian […]

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 […]

JUICE: Building Code Update Calls for Solar on New Homes

29 Jan

California will become the first state in the nation to require solar systems on new homes under a massive update to state building energy efficiency standards to be adopted by the California Energy Commission this spring. The standards will add about 200 MW of rooftop solar to the grid each year as home builders construct […]

Solar Tariff Means U.S. Job Loss, Industry Warns

22 Jan

President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules aimed primarily at China, which is the world’s number one producer. “The International Trade Commission found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

1 Nov

As cooler temperatures take hold in Southern California, SoCal Gas is warning of energy supply risks in the coming season due to limitations placed on its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field that reopened earlier this year. SoCal Gas President Bret Lane outlined the concerns in an Oct. 30 letter to the California Energy Commission […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

Brown Wraps Up Bill Signing

16 Oct

Among the last of the energy measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on or before the Oct. 15 deadline are ones promoting greater reliance on clean resources to meet power needs in Los Angeles in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage incident and advance rooftop solar energy systems. Brown signed SB 801 […]

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 […]

Decentralized Solar Posed to Cut Grid Costs, Report Finds

31 Aug

Decentralized solar coupled with onsite battery storage can reduce strain and costs in maintaining the electrical grid, according to a report commissioned by Sonoma Clean Power that was released Aug. 31. Dubbed “Solar+,” the report said that sufficiently-sized solar systems coupled with storage on a decentralized basis also can serve new power demand as people […]

Grid Takes Solar Eclipse In Stride

22 Aug

During the Aug. 21 solar eclipse between 3,000 MW and 3,500 MW of large-scale solar dropped off line, according to the grid operator. The California Independent System Operator predicted the moon’s temporary shadowing of the sun would cause a loss of 6,000 MW of solar power, with 4,200 MW of that fall occurring at utility-scale […]

Grid Operator Seeks to Avoid Solar Energy Crash

24 Jul

The California Independent System Operator is working to get utility-scale solar generators to reset the controls on their inverters to avoid massive losses of generation when transmission lines experience momentary faults. The effort comes after major solar systems have suddenly quit feeding power to the grid—in one case causing a sudden loss of almost 1,200 […]