In a move that could affect the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant, 17 groups Sept. 29 took a first step to seeking federal court intervention if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission does not stop on its own the licensing and relicensing of 23 reactors at 14 sites. The groups note that the agency has \u201cfailed to address a major 2012 court action and longstanding prior decisions requiring the it to be sure highly radioactive spent reactor fuel used in reactors can be disposed of safely.\u201d They urge the commission include cost-benefit analyses in its re-licensing decisions. Included in the 17 is San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. The new California Independent System Operator chair is Richard Maullin. He was drafted from a \u201cmember\u201d commission to lead the grid operator. Former chair Bob Foster stepped down Sept. 30 to pursue a career in renewable energy. \u201cSuch is life,\u201d Foster said. Maullin noted that the hurdles for the grid are implementing a west-wide \u201cimbalance\u201d market to import and export electricity in an attempt to support more renewables, as well as making the grid operator\u2019s business as \u201copen and transparent as humanly possible.\u201d As the case over alleged improper communications between PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission unfolds, the utility reported to the Securities & Exchange Commission that it\u2019s been \u201cordered to appear at a hearing\u201d Oct. 7 \u201cto show cause why the utility should not be held in contempt and punished for the prohibited ex parte communications\u201d in a gas storage and transmission case. Utility executives and commission staff were sacked last month over emails that apparently indicated \u201cjudge shopping.\u201d Fourteen California Naval installations are targeted in a Western Area Power Administration request for renewables proposal Sept. 29. \u201cOnce awarded through the selection process, this project will be the largest single purchase of renewable energy by a Department of Defense entity,\u201d notes Western. Since 1987, the Navy allows Western to enter into long-term power purchase agreements to meet its energy requirements, according to Western. As a result of this request, the Navy is set to purchase power from a new renewable energy generation project for up to 25 years. The cost of the project must be at or below the Navy\u2019s current cost of power in the California marketplace. The Sacramento Municipal Utility District on Oct. 2 approved a 10-year extension of a power purchase deal originally struck in 2003 with Iberdola Renewables for 50 MW of power. Under the contract, Iberdrola contracted directly with Solano County wind farm owner NextEra for the project generation, which is interconnected with, and delivers all of its output into, the California Independent System Operator. A provision added to SMUD-NextEra contract in 2009 implemented a protocol providing a mechanism for deliveries to be from the wind farm as a result of the CAISO\u2019s market redesign and technology upgrade. The power\u2019s priced at a flat $59.75\/MWh and the contract expires June 30, 2025. The overall projected cost for SMUD is $7.58 million annually for deliveries of 127,000 MWh of renewable power generated each year. PG&E\u2019s third annual \u201csmart grid\u201d report noted in 2013, \u201ccustomers experienced the fewest minutes without electricity in company history.\u201d According to the company, PG&E has installed intelligent switch technology on almost 20 percent of its electrical distribution circuits throughout Northern and Central California. In the event of an outage, these circuits significantly reduce the duration from hours to minutes by re-routing power flows. Since the inception of the program, this self-healing technology has avoided more than 40 million customer outage minutes, noted the utility.