State utility regulators okay Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2021 wildfire risk reduction plan over strenuous objects from local power activists and fire victims. The estimated $5 billion tab will be taken up in another proceeding. The approval comes a day after five counties sue PG&E for the Dixie Fire destruction.
The California Public Utilities Commission approves half of Southern California Edison’s request to issue $1 billion in ratepayer bonds to cover its wildfire expenses and debt from unpaid utility bills.
Meanwhile, federal energy regulatory staff reveal natural gas prices are spiking this winter with the surge in LNG exports although a warm winter is forecast. At the same time, wind and solar buildout continue in and outside California, pushing down gas demand.
The 67-year old Redondo Beach gas-fired power plant’s life is officially extended to the end of 2023. The 834 MW plant is to continue providing peaking power as needed. It remains to be seen whether it averts rolling outages and the firing up of large numbers of diesel backups.
The launch of California grid operator’s expanded day-ahead market is set for 2024, which will be a big, but not full step towards regionalization. Pressure to work out thorny governance issues with Energy Imbalance Market participants is mounting as surrounding entities work to create full-blown regional transmission organizations.
Net energy metering has a starring role in advancing solar rooftops but sitting behind the stage is the state’s massive solar subsidy program, including incentives to 233 MW of PV on new homes. This New Solar Homes Partnership is one part of the $2 billion incentive package that provides a path, and lessons, for growing the behind-the-meter storage market in California.