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LADWP Moves Forward on Energy Storage

21 Aug

The nation’s largest municipal power utility committed to connecting 178 MW of electricity storage projects to its system over the next five years. The first project is a 20 MW battery system that will store excess power produced by major solar and wind projects in the Mojave Desert. Acting Aug. 16, the Los Angeles Department […]

Electric Cars & Solar Roofs Driving Energy Demand

3 Aug

California’s future demand for electricity from utilities—and to some extent natural gas—will hinge on how fast electric vehicles and solar rooftops advance in the marketplace, according to the California Energy Commission’s latest forecast. Solar and electric vehicles, according to Chris Kavalic, Energy Commission researcher, “make the most difference in our forecast.” The commission previewed its […]

SoCal Gas Restarts Aliso Canyon Operations

1 Aug

SoCal Gas July 31 began injecting gas into its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in the Los Angeles area for the first time since a well blowout lead to a giant methane leak in 2015, forcing its closure. The utility notified residents of Porter Ranch and the San Fernando Valley that it had resumed […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

CPUC Targets Smart Inverters’ Potential by 2020

3 Jul

A key to reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 12,000 MW of distributed energy resources by 2020 involves maximizing the use of smart inverters. Smart inverters “mitigate many of the traditional concerns associated with variable distributed energy resources,” like solar panels, Gabe Petlin, California Public Utilities Commission supervisor, said during a June 29 California Energy […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]

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 […]

Large Battery Projects Soar in CA, Small Ones Struggle

15 Jun

Someone’s loss is another’s gain extends to the emerging energy storage market in California. The closure of the massive Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field caused the energy storage market in the state to take off. Despite California’s mandate that private utilities procure a total of 1,325 MW of energy storage by 2020, the state’s […]

CEC Continues to Grant Big Clean Energy Bucks

14 Jun

The California Energy Commission June 14 approved well over $50 million in grants to advance efficiency and alternative energy use in the transportation, natural gas and electricity sectors. Among the many grants approved on 3-0 votes was more than $20 million for nine new hydrogen refueling stations in California. The alternative fuel stations are expected […]

SHORTS

14 Jun

In a change of tune, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Congressional panel June 15 that he plans not to challenge California’s authority to set tighter automotive emissions standards than the federal standards. Earlier this year, he suggested EPA might review whether the state’s power to set the standards, now in place for almost 50 […]

Energy Measures that Advance to Other House

8 Jun

Below is the latest update on bills that passed out of their house of origin. Still in play, but not approved, is Sen. Henry Stern’s legislation to freeze natural gas reinjections into the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon storage field, which leaked methane for months sickening residents. It was listed on the Senate floor’s June 8 […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

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 […]

Generator Earnings Mixed in First Quarter

9 May

Generators latest earnings report were not as grim as reported in previous quarters but also nothing to write home about. AES: This Virginia-based company continues to suffer losses. The first quarter of 2017 it reported a loss of $24 million, or minus 4 cents per share. That compares with net earnings of $126 million reported […]

Utility Energy Storage Mandate Untouched by CPUC

27 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously April 27 not to expand the state’s 1,325 MW energy storage target for private utilities, nor broaden the categories of storage technologies eligible to fulfill the goal. Legislation passed in 2010, AB 2514, requires the investor-owned utilities to have 1,325 MW of storage in place by 2020. The […]

Energy Storage Subsidy Bill Hits End of the Road

27 Apr

An Assembly bill aimed at subsidizing utility customer-owned energy storage batteries the same way the California Solar Initiative program has subsidized rooftop solar systems for the past decade appears to have died this week.  A similar measure on the Senate side was approved earlier in the week. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee advanced a […]

Energy Storage Fund & Data Access Bills Advance

25 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee April 24 passed legislation to create an energy storage funding program equivalent to the California Solar Initiative. That initiative helped put solar energy on solid financial footing with $2.1 billion in subsidies over a decade. SB 700 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would separate out energy storage […]

Power Oversupply Worsens, CAISO Says

20 Apr

California faces a rapidly growing oversupply of electricity primarily due to the growth of solar energy, according to the California Independent System Operator. Excess solar is creating steeper ramping requirements as the sun sets. “Everything’s turning out as we projected, just a little faster,” Mark Rothleder, CAISO senior vice president, told the Energy Imbalance Market […]

CPUC Revives Self Gen Program with Bigger Budget

6 Apr

Utility regulators April 6 approved a doubling of funds for the self-generation incentive program. It is intended to subsidize solar and other generation technologies, plus energy storage, at the power distribution system level. Funding is set at $83 million a year for the period 2017-2019, under the decision approved unanimously by the California Public Utilities […]