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Elephants & Donkeys Like Solar & Wind

16 May

A recent Pew Research Center poll of American attitudes on energy and the environment finds little difference in support for solar and wind energy among Republicans and Democrats compared to the gulf in their respective views on fossil fuel and nuclear power. Yet, there is a substantial difference of opinion on how to encourage renewable […]

JUICE: 100% Renewable Bill Withers

17 Apr

Solar panels and solar water heaters gleam on every fourth or fifth house as I drive along the road to Kahului from Lahaina on Maui after passing a bank of wind turbines spinning in the ever constant Trade Winds. In O’ahu the view is much the same, with massive banks of solar panels visible everywhere, […]

Undercurrents: PCIA Struggle Heats Up

4 Apr

Clashing proposals on revising or replacing the California Public Utilities Commission’s controversial power charge indifference adjustment were submitted to regulators April 2. This cost adjustment method determines how much community choice organizations must pay the private utilities for their stranded power purchase contracts. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas […]

Undercurrents

20 Mar

As the state faces up to the loss of power that closing Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2,200 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant will create come the middle of the next decade, the California Energy Commission is eyeing areas offshore of the plant as potential candidates for placing wind power facilities. During a March 12 […]

Planners Discuss Western Transmission Projects

22 Feb

Western transmission system planners gathered Feb. 22 at the California Independent System Operator’s headquarters in Folsom to share information about new transmission facilities across the western U.S. Tom Green, planning management committee chair for WestConnect and Xcel Energy, noted that increasing numbers of wind and solar facilities being built in the West to serve California […]

House Bill Eases PURPA’s Must-Buy Requirement

22 Jan

State energy regulators would gain more authority to waive the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act’s must-buy requirement for utilities under legislation debated Jan. 19 in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy. The measure, H.R. 4476, would allow state utility commissions to relieve utilities of the duty to purchase power from facilities with capacities […]

Undercurrents

16 Jan

The world’s energy supply increasingly is being dominated by solar and wind technologies, the International Energy Agency told U.S. lawmakers. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Jan. 16 that by 2040 renewable technologies will produce 40 percent of the world’s electricity. Solar will dominate the march of […]

Climate Roundup: Low Carbon Energy Project Slated for Huntington Beach

13 Dec

SoCal Gas joined with the University of California-Irvine’s Advanced Power & Energy Program Dec. 12 to design an “advanced energy community” in an underserved neighborhood in Huntington Beach. The community will be planned as a replicable model that employs solar, wind, and renewable natural gas technology, including storage of renewable energy with power-to-gas technology. “Creating […]

Federal Energy Project Permit Streamlining Said Lacking

12 Dec

Lawmakers focused on efforts to streamline the federal permitting process for energy and other infrastructure projects built on federal lands during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing Dec. 12. Panel Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) urged federal agencies to do more to expedite permits. She noted that similar projects approved in Canada […]

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 […]

Choice Program Clean Energy Projects Gain Critical Mass

15 Nov

Updated Nov. 16, 2017. As community choice aggregation programs have matured, the number of renewable power plants being built in California to serve their customers has swelled. The newest project is expected to begin operating early next year. Together, three major choice programs in the state—Marin Clean Energy, Sonoma Clean Power, and Peninsula Clean Energy—have […]

Utilities & Community Choice Beat Renewables Target

14 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities exceeded the 25 percent alternative energy mandate set for 2016 and are expected to have half their energy portfolios supplied by eligible renewable resources by 2020. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission report submitted to the Legislature Nov. 13. The state’s community choice aggregators together exceeded last year’s mandate, […]

CPUC Rolls Out CA Power System Resource Plan

2 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission laid out its goals for the upcoming integrated resource planning process to guide future procurement of power resources towards a lower carbon future. Under the integrated resource planning process, said CPUC staff member Forest Kaser, the reference plan aims to identify the least-cost approach to meeting the state’s 2030 greenhouse […]

Undercurrents

25 Oct

The California Air Resources Board is in the midst of changing its low carbon fuel standard as it seeks to further ratchet down on greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decade. Natural gas vehicle advocates, however, are crying foul. Under the proposal, according to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, air regulators would increase the carbon […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: Bill Promoting Renewables During Peaks Before Gov.

7 Sep

State legislation to increase the amount of clean alternative resources used to meet peak demand passed both chambers this week. The Senate passed SB 338 on 27-13 vote Sept. 6 after the Assembly passed it 46-26 the day before. “California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), […]

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 […]

The Buzz

28 Jul

The California Independent System Operator seeks to widen the route to the state’s wholesale electricity market for demand response. Microgrids promise benefits, but first the California Energy Commission says numerous speed bumps must be removed to make them more commonplace. The grid operator seeks to head off the potential for sudden loss of large amounts […]

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 […]