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The Buzz

16 May

It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs. Utility regulators this week also […]

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 […]

Shorts

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

Undercurrents

1 May

Updated May 2 The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal outlining the criteria and methodology for utilities to recovery wildfire expenses under SB 901 is being challenged by a group of stakeholders. Specifically being contested is staff’s restricted definition of “customer harm.” It fails to include “harm involved in the form of funds paid out […]

Cost of Bulk Storage Measure is Top Concern

24 Apr

Sparks flew in the state Capitol April 24 over a bill to require the grid operator to contract for up to 4,000 MW of large-scale, long duration storage capacity employing pumped storage and possibly other technologies. While the measure, SB 772 by Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena), was approved by the committee 8-1, lawmakers moved it […]

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 […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid

2 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy PART 1 Editor’s Note: In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lorenzo Kristov and Mark Ferron, former CAISO board member, advocated for an “open access” distribution system and indicated that local planning increasingly is “where […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

CEC Backs Battery System for Black Start Operations

12 Mar

The California Energy Commission March 12 cleared the way for NRG to install a 7 MW battery facility at its Marsh Landing power plant in Antioch. It will be used to provide needed power for black start operations at the plant. Last year the California Independent System Operator designated the 760 MW simple-cycle plant, which […]

Assembly Panel Seeks Assurances of A Clean Affordable Future

7 Mar

An Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing centered on how to ensure California reliably and affordably decarbonizes it energy infrastructure at a time when the sector is going through a metamorphosis. “It is a difficult challenge and we have met the challenge to date,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of market quality […]

U.S. Senate Panel Focuses on Emissions & the Grid

5 Mar

Climate change’s impact on the nation’s electric system and the need for more clean and reliable energy were in the spotlight during a bipartisan committee hearing this week in Washington, D.C. “The electricity sector is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to climate change, but it is perhaps the most visible and […]

Solar Rights Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

26 Feb

Last week, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff) introduced SB 288, which outlines the rights of California homeowners, schools, businesses, and farmers to make and store their own solar power without interference from utilities. The bill seeks to update outdated tariffs that make it financially unattractive to install solar systems […]

EPIC Program Focuses on V2G Technologies

20 Feb

Vehicle fleets mark a significant market opportunity in the emerging vehicle-to-grid arena. Installing software with a simple control system into a large number of electric cars to allow two-way communication with the grid can shift charging times and reduce costs and impacts on the power distribution and transmission systems, according to speakers at Tuesday’s Energy […]

EPIC Program Aims to Get Ahead of Epic Changes

20 Feb

Key focuses of the state program dispensing $162 million a year are advancing innovative clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and communities with high fire danger. Another top priority of the Electric Program Investment Charge is diversifying energy storage in California to help meet climate protection and renewable targets in a changing environment, said speakers […]

CAISO Improves Interconnection Process

7 Feb

The California Independent System Operator Board Feb. 7 approved changes that aim to reduce the interconnection barriers generation and storage projects face. There are 288 active generation and storage projects in CAISO’s interconnection queue. The latest policy changes seek “to smooth the process for getting these projects online,” according to the grid operator.  The enhancements […]

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 […]

The Buzz

4 Jan

With the New Year comes the sad news of the death of Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner, and former chair, Kevin McIntyre. The exit fee slapped on former PG&E customers is estimated to add $100 million. But, the exact tab for community choice customers should be known at the end of next week. CA’s Attorney General […]

Shorts

5 Dec

Updated Dec. 6. The U.S. Senate Dec. 6 confirmed Bernard McNamee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 50-49 vote. McNamee’s nomination was controversial because of the role he played while at the U.S. Department of Energy, specifically entailing its proposal that FERC order subsidies for coal and nuclear power plants. McNamee “needs to […]

Senate Panel Weighs Energy Measures in Lame Duck Session

29 Nov

A U.S. Senate subcommittee held a Nov. 29 hearing on 14 energy-related bills, spanning a wide gamut of topics, from promoting employment of veterans by the energy industry to bolstering research by the Department of Energy on energy storage and distributed energy resources. The hearing came during the lame duck session when federal lawmakers’ key […]