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The Buzz

4 Mar 2021


A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye.

East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect team up to use the latter customers’ negawatts to reduce EBCE’s peak demand when prices and pollution are high...

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The Buzz

25 Feb 2021


The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy's reported income goes the opposite direction.

While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, and ratepayer representatives warn that ever-rising rates will be the undoing of equity and clean energy in California...

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SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb 2021


Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws.

SCE issued three tranches of AAA-rated bonds backed 100% by ratepayers, with an overall maturity of 23 years...

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The Buzz

18 Feb 2021


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a "humanitarian crisis." FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power.

Soaring demand in Texas,

frozen power plants, and massive outages, impact California. Frozen gas wells in the Lone Star State cause natural gas prices in Southern California to soar...

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JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb 2021


Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall.

Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of the approximately 1.3 million residences equipped with photovoltaic solar systems, about 15%--or 30,000, include battery storage...

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The Buzz

11 Feb 2021


The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options.

Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities plan to make under their 2021-22 wildfire mitigation plans...

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Utility Regulators Grapple with $1B+ in Unpaid Energy Bills

11 Feb 2021


The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring options for paying off the more than $1.15 billion in unpaid utility bills that has accumulated during the pandemic.

“The numbers are pretty horrendous,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said Feb. 11 of the arrearages for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas through the end of last year...

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The Buzz

4 Feb 2021


State regulatory staff propose further crimping demand response, much to the dismay of advocates of these behind-the-meter resources. Making matters worse for them is the disparity in treatment between DR and fossil power plants.

The City of San Diego plans to issue a second request for bids for electricity and gas services because the long-time holder of the franchise agreement was the sole bidder during the first round...

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CA Community Energy Offers Roadmap for Cities Across the U.S.

2 Feb 2021


A recent report from UCLA finds the phenomenal growth of community choice aggregation in California offers a template for other states interested in advancing local clean energy. And the possibilities grow under a climate protection-friendly president.

“In California, CCAs have become an effective tool at enabling local climate action,” a report by the Luskin Center for Innovation says. The CCAs spur investment in energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging programs, “tailored to the needs of their communities,” according to The Role of Community Choice Aggregators in Advancing Clean Energy Transitions report...

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The Buzz

28 Jan 2021


Tis the season for new legislation and among the new bills is one setting a financial bar for major companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, big businesses would be required to report both direct and indirect carbon emissions. Other legislation would curb gas use in new buildings, seek to grow green hydrogen and recycle out-of-commission solar panels.

Southern California Edison’s 16 outages last year were not so sweet, according to regulators...

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The Buzz

22 Jan 2021


Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green hydrogen. But hurdles remain.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a new chair...

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Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan 2021


A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators.

The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects recently exempted from state permitting by the Energy Commission and hundreds of megawatts of utility diesel generators approved by the California Public Utilities Commission...

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The Buzz

14 Jan 2021


One of the avenues for helping secure power supplies during safety shutoffs and heat waves is a proceeding on clean microgrids. But a new California Public Utilities Commission decision makes little headway on advancing the microgrid market because of concerns about ratepayer costs and safety. Those concerns do little to appease low-income advocates who object to putting private utilities in the driver’s seat...

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The Buzz

7 Jan 2021


Three is not a charm for Pacific Gas & Electric. Its problematic 1,150 MW Unit 2 at its Diablo nuclear plant is down for a third time because of a new issue. The soonest it will be back online is the end of May.

A quintet of community energy agencies receive solid credit ratings, which drive down their borrowing costs and save their customers money. The latest credit evaluations are assigned to Silicon Valley Clean Energy and CleanPowerSF...

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New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan 2021


Correction made Jan. 21

Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it's not expected to be back in continuous service for several more weeks. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2.

Both of the unit's two unplanned outages earlier last year were due to a hydrogen leak from an electric component at Pacific Gas & Electric’s plant...

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The Buzz

17 Dec 2020


Federal energy regulators shoot down a proposed order requiring the grid operator to prove the August outages were not caused by its unreasonable tariff. Two of the three voting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members reject interfering with the California Independent System Operator's work with state energy agencies to fill grid reliability gaps.

The California Public Utilities Commission approves lower electric vehicle charging rates, more EV investments in disadvantaged communities and inching ahead on vehicle to grid projects...

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FERC Votes 2-1 Against Interfering in CAISO Market

17 Dec 2020


The California grid operator dodged a bullet Dec. 17 when federal regulators voted down an order that would have required the California Independent System Operator to prove its mid-August outages were not caused by an unreasonable market tariff.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Rich Glick said FERC has already exacerbated problems in three eastern regional transmission organizations and shouldn’t intervene in California's market, which integrates large amounts of renewable power...

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The Buzz

10 Dec 2020


Liane Randolph, who has been at the California Public Utilities Commission for the last five years is making a big move. She is the next Air Resources Board chair, replacing Mary Nichols, who may head to Washington DC.

Southern California Edison signs another big round of energy storage deals this week. That includes 585 MW for three utility-scale battery projects in Calif. and Nevada. The price tag is hidden...

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Integrating Variable Resources and Flexible Demand

7 Dec 2020


What is the best way to mix in growing levels of intermittent renewable resources in networks such as California's, as it marches towards a 100% clean energy portfolio by 2045? Among the usual suspects are better interconnections, and more generation diversity, including more storage and price responsive demand, a resource traditionally neglected. A newly released book, Variable Generation, Flexible Demand, provides a broad lens on the subject...

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The Buzz

3 Dec 2020


The Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 shuts down just two days after it goes back online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know the cause, who is on the hook for the repair and whether there will be heightened monitoring.

A little more than a day later, the California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s request for an additional $9 billion in revenue this year, and more the next two years...

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