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The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

New Grid Operator Chief Comes from Bonneville Power

6 Aug

The California Independent System Operator chose the current head of the Bonneville Power Administration as its new chief. Elliot Mainzer is BPA’s chief executive officer and president, who will replace CAISO’s outgoing Steve Berberich Sept. 30, the grid operator announced Aug. 6. Mainzer, originally from San Francisco, has been BPA’s administrator for the last seven […]

Sudden Change at Helm of Utilities Commission

6 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission executive director says she is being pushed out for pressuring the agency to collect $200 million owed to it by utility companies, mostly ones that provide water, but also energy and telecommunications. CPUC President Marybel Batjer notified staff the evening of Aug. 4 that Alice Stebbins, who has been executive […]

Fracking Protection Bill Sputters

6 Aug

Legislation to require setbacks between natural gas and oil wells and playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and homes to protect the health of predominantly communities of color failed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Aug. 5. But it was revived by a 5-3 vote to reconsider it in the future. AB 345 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi […]

Sempra Earnings Soar, Ups Fight to Protect Turf in CA

5 Aug

Sempra Energy, the parent company of both San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas, saw sharply increased earnings of $2.305 billion in the second quarter, or $7.64 per share. That compares to $435 million last year, or $1.29 per share. Much of the increase was attributed to the multi-billion dollar sale of its South […]

SoCal Gas Sues CEC for Illegally Sidelining Natural Gas

5 Aug

The battle to preserve natural gas in California is heating up. Southern California Gas sued the California Energy Commission July 31, claiming it shirked its duty to adequately report the role natural gas will play in the state’s energy future. The lawsuit brought in the State Superior Court in Orange County was joined by SoCal […]

The Bill for Energy Shifts from the Office to Home

4 Aug

The increased hours people are spending at home have driven up residential power demand in California, and with it, utility bills. Late summer with its higher temperatures only makes the situation worse. The highest increase in home energy use reported among the major private and public utilities was 15%, in the southern part of the […]

Bills on Lithium Extraction, EV Charging, Biomethane Advance

4 Aug

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee met this week and passed four energy bills. The committee had halted reconvening mid-July after one lawmaker and some staff were found to be infected with Covid-19. The quartet of measures approved Aug. 3 promote electric vehicle chargers and school efficiency, lithium recovery in the Imperial Valley, turning […]

Shorts

4 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Bernard McNamee will depart the agency Sept. 4. McNamee, whose term formally expired at the end of June, announced Aug. 5 his final day on the commission. He thanked President Trump for nominating him, adding “I will have more to say before I leave.”  Last week, Trump announced […]

News Roundup: CPUC to Oppose Payday for Transmission Owners

3 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 State energy regulators are expected to soon ratify their staff’s formal opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March plan that would give transmission owners handsome payoffs for cybersecurity upgrades. The awards would come even if the businesses were already making the investments without the incentives. FERC proposes the changes to benefit […]

The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

CEC Urged to Require Electric-Only New Construction

30 Jul

The California Energy Commission should mandate that all new buildings be gas-free in its 2022 update of the state energy code to protect public health, climate and the economy, the Rocky Mountain Institute said July 28. “Acting today will have far-reaching benefits—and conversely, the costs of missing this cycle are significant.” The Energy Commission is […]

Edison’s Earnings Drop, PG&E’s Losses Less Grim

30 Jul

Two of California’s three investor-owned utilities reported second quarter earnings this week. Edison International’s earnings were not as rosy as the same quarter last year, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s were not as bad. Sempra reports earnings next week. Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, reported a drop in second quarter earnings […]

Shorts

29 Jul

PG&E and Tesla began construction on a 182.5 MW battery project at Moss Landing in Monterey County, the utility announced July 29. The joint lithium ion storage project is expected to be online in the middle of next year. “Battery energy storage plays an integral role in enhancing overall electric grid efficiency and reliability, integrating […]

News Roundup: Trump Names Two FERC Nominees

28 Jul

After months of ignoring the Democrats’ nominee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while advancing the Republican choice for another, President Donald Trump July 27 accepted two prospective commissioners, one from each party. Democrats chose Allison Clements, and Republicans chose Mark Christie. “In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, […]

Juice: The Road from Coal to Green Hydrogen

28 Jul

Back in 2006, the California legislature passed a bill limiting imports of electricity from coal-fired power plants in other states, as well as from new and upgraded in-state natural gas facilities. SB 1368 by former Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland) was groundbreaking, requiring utility supply contracts to not exceed a greenhouse gas emissions cap. It sent […]

Conflict Grows Between SoCal Gas and Ratepayer Advocate

27 Jul

California’s ratepayer advocate asked state regulators to fine SoCal Gas $4.5 million for ignoring a subpoena for financial records showing how much ratepayer money it spent on bogus grassroots efforts to undermine building electrification and other moves to phase out natural gas use. The amount of money the gas utility directed to outside lobbyists could […]

The Buzz

23 Jul

Energy storage is surging in California, with much of it being built next to solar plants. The grid operator board approves giving these complimentary co-located projects a market boost so they can fill the gap in peak supplies over the next three years. After many years, dozens of stakeholders reached an agreement on removing PacifiCorp’s […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]