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CAISO Raises Pay for Replacement Power, Inches Up Budget

14 Dec

The grid operator’s board Dec. 14 approved allowing more flexible resources to come online soon after unexpected transmission disruptions. The newly approved modeling enhancement at issue also would increase the compensation paid to resources that come online quickly to rebalance the system. “This has the potential to increase reliability and reduce costs,” said Eric Hildebrandt, […]

New Western Grid Entity on Horizon

14 Dec

While California Independent System Operator efforts to formally expand into a western-wide grid manager largely have been hamstrung by governance issues, a new entity is exploring launching a western transmission organization. It would compete with possible CAISO and Southwest Power Pool expansions. At the end of last week, Peak Reliability, the reliability coordinator for the […]

Undercurrents

5 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric upped its game on energy storage Dec. 4 by seeking approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to enter into six new contracts with a total storage capacity of 165 MW. “These contracts and the storage capacity they represent will help us better integrate our growing renewable generation sources, and bring […]

CAISO May Cancel PG&E 230 kV Project, Add Intertie Data Devices

16 Nov

Grid operator staff noted a shift in planning focus from whether a proposed high voltage project is needed for traditional reliability to whether it will advance renewables integration during a Nov. 16 meeting on the preliminary 2018-19 transmission plan. As part of addressing the impact of intermittent renewables, California Independent System Operator staff said it’s […]

Opinionated: Plan to Power Through Weather-Related Outages

14 Nov

By Kevin Stenson Weather has impacted California significantly this past year, particularly wildfires fed by heavy winds. Like any major weather event, there are things that went well and things that can be improved. With California being the most populated state in the nation and the state’s energy demand being the second highest, it’s important […]

JUICE: Grid Familiarity

24 Oct

If California becomes part of a western grid, is the vehicle important? Specifically, is it better for the California Independent System Operator to formally grow or for western states to join an expanded Southwest Power Pool? While nobody expects the Southwest Power Pool to ever reach California, there’s growing concern about the pool expanding into […]

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 […]

Shorts

18 Oct

The grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members during the third quarter this year. Benefits since the western imbalance market began in 2014 now total $254.98 million, according to the California Independent System Operator on Oct. 18. The grid operator also said that carbon emissions from the […]

PG&E Restores Power in Fire Regions

17 Oct

The massive fires that led to more than 40 deaths and torched huge swaths of Northern California tripped transmission and distribution lines maintained by Pacific Gas & Electric. Three 230 kV lines, and a 115 kV and one 60 kV line in Sonoma and Napa Counties were shorted out early last week by the Tubbs, […]

U.S. Senate Panel Aims to Cut Power-Related Wildfires

20 Sep

Western forests are “tinderboxes for wildfire” after the prolonged drought, warned Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) during a Sept. 19 hearing by U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which she chairs, on vegetation management mandates for electricity infrastructure on federal lands. There have been hundreds of wildfires on public lands in the West because of […]

CA Exodus from Federal Advisory Roles

6 Sep

California is steadily losing its voice when it comes to federal energy and environmental policy as the Trump Administration either alienates or removes Californians from various advisory committees and delegations in Washington. In the latest move, The Trump Administration notified Carl Zichella Sept. 1 that he would not be reappointed to the Department of Energy’s […]

The Buzz

25 Aug

State utility regulators okayed a shift in the peak pricing period to later in the day for San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Industry advocates warn it erodes the economic advantages of rooftop solar. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gets an education about how the grid operates. A Department of Energy staff report he requested […]

Transmission Lines Avoid Being Scorched in Modoc & Berkeley

3 Aug

The governor declared a state of emergency in Modoc County Aug. 2 because a fire that began July 24 has burned thousands of acres and came too close for comfort to energy infrastructure.  On Aug. 2, a fire in the hills above Berkeley and Oakland threatened Pacific Gas & Electric transmission lines. The governor’s emergency […]

Undercurrents: Blackout Highlights Old Electrical Infrastructure

11 Jul

Aging infrastructure was on display July 8 when a high-voltage transformer used at a transmission line receiving station exploded and burst into flames in Los Angeles in the early evening. It triggered a power outage for 140,000 households and businesses. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power station, built during the 1950s, is used […]

Undercurrents: San Juan Capistrano Challenges the CPUC’s Approval of SDG&E Project

27 Jun

Editor’s Note: this article was updated June 29. The City of San Juan Capistrano filed suit against the California Public Utilities Commission for approving San Diego Gas & Electric’s South Orange County transmission upgrade project last December. The city claims the project, which would add $400 million to the ratebase, is not needed for reliability […]

Undercurrents: Trade Complaint Casts Shadow Over Solar Industry

19 Jun

A trade complaint filed by bankrupt photovoltaic cell manufacturer Suniva is being officially investigated by the International Trade Commission. It could recommend that President Trump levy tariffs as early as this fall. Suniva, which is based in Georgia but largely is owned by Chinese interests, is advocating that a duty of 40 cents per watt […]

Trump’s Sale of WAPA & BPA Lines is a Lead Balloon

23 May

The Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget, released May 23, puts a for sale sign on federally-owned power lines in the West. However, selling the transmission assets of the Western Area Power Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Southwestern Power Administration will face major resistance from federal lawmakers from the West and Northwest. Carl […]

CPUC to Revise Undergrounding Wire Rules & Provide More Gas Access in Central Valley

11 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved moving to revise its rules on the undergrounding of utility electric wires, including how undergrounding projects are chosen and who pays. The rulemaking approved May 11 is aimed at helping determine which underground projects are in the public interest, including how much to focus in urban, suburban, rural […]

CPUC Approves Major Edison Substation Upgrade

9 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 9 gave the green light to Southern California Edison to build a major new substation in Monterey Park and upgrade associated transmission lines at total cost of $561 million. The project will replace the existing 220 kV Mesa substation with a new 500 kV substation and bolster connecting transmission […]

JUICE: Battle of the Billionaires

26 Jan

As President Donald Trump packs his cabinet with those determined to jump start the coal industry, a battle of billionaires largely under the news radar is shaping up that could be good for California, particularly under a regionalized grid In final actions, Obama’s Interior Department and the Western Area Power Administration last week approved a […]