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The Buzz

3 Dec

Two days after the Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 goes back online over the Thanksgiving weekend, it shuts down. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know what caused the coolant in the stator to leak, who is on the hook for the […]

PG&E Rates Climb and Climb Again

3 Dec

As Californians pay higher electric bills because work and other activities are confined to home, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to increase its revenue this year by $9.1 billion, a nearly 7% increase over last year. In 2021, there will be an additional $316 million rise […]

Diablo Canyon Unit Down Again

3 Dec

One of two main units at the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is down for the third time. Soon after Unit 2 was restarted over the Thanksgiving weekend after a month-and-a-half long outage, Pacific Gas & Electric again had to take it offline. The problem continues to be with an electric generator component that was […]

Four More NoCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

CAISO’s Energy Imbalance Market Has Taken Big Steps but Faces Competition

2 Dec

California’s energy imbalance market had a good 2020. It passed $1 billion in total benefits, added two powerhouse participants, and filed its first plan for expanding into day-ahead trading. But the question of how California can share decision-making with other states continues to block that expansion and potential participants are looking at alternatives. The voluntary EIM […]

Matching Flexible Demand with Green Load

2 Dec

What is the best way to integrate growing levels of variable renewable resources into grid networks such as in California, as it marches towards 100% renewable mix by 2045? Among the usual suspects are better interconnections, and more generation diversity, including more storage and price responsive demand, a resource traditionally neglected. This subject is gaining […]

San Francisco Utility Chief Charged with Bribery

1 Dec

The Department of Justice announced Nov. 30 it has charged the head of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Harlan Kelly, with accepting bribes. Later that same day, Kelly announced he was retiring a year-and-a-half ahead of schedule. He said it was both “painful” to end his 35-year career because of “false allegations” and impossible […]

Shorts

1 Dec

The U.S. Senate confirmed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominations of Republican pick Mark Christie and the Democratic choice Allison Clements the evening of Nov. 30. Christie, Virginia State Corporation Commission chair, was confirmed to a term ending in 2025. Clements, a policy consultant for The Energy Foundation and a former attorney with NRDC, was […]

Strong Santa Anas May Cause Long Outages

30 Nov

Updated Dec. 3 San Diego Gas & Electric shut off power to 73,000 customers starting Dec. 1 because of multi-day powerful Santa Ana winds.  The winds are impacting a huge swath of Southern California, from Los Angeles to San Diego. Brian D’Agostino, SDG&E’s director of fire science and climate adaptation, reported Dec. 3 that the […]

News Roundup: GM Sees the EV Light

24 Nov

General Motors announced it will cease its opposition to California’s tailpipe emissions reduction work, asserting it is now committed “to an all-electric, zero emission future.” For about a year and a half, General Motors led the effort to strip California of its vehicle emissions regulatory power. Three weeks after the election that took down the […]

PG&E Touts Biggest Ratepayer Bond in U.S. History

24 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric argues that its proposal before utility regulators to issue $7.5 billion in 30-year bonds to be repaid by ratepayers is a good deal for its customers. This low-cost refinancing of shareholder debt to cover utility wildfire costs “will enable PG&E to promptly move $6 billion in debt off its balance sheet,” […]

Guest Juice: Solar Gets Better, Cheaper

24 Nov

By Feiridoon Sioshansi Solar projects, particularly the utility-scale variety, are now considered the cheapest way to generate power in California and many other parts of the U.S., according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s new report 2020 Utility-Scale Solar Data Update. It provides the latest trends in ground-mounted solar projects larger than 5 MWAC. It […]

Shorts

24 Nov

SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric announced Nov. 23 that they were launching a demonstration project that would blend green hydrogen with natural gas. The utilities said the move was part of their strategy to lower the carbon content of their fuel. “The vision is to leverage surplus renewable electricity generated in the middle […]

The Buzz

19 Nov

State utility regulators aim to move on demand side resources to avoid outages when it is roasting hot next summer. They plan to take the unusual step of expediting changes to California Public Utilities Commission resource adequacy, demand response and other load reduction programs. Over at the nation’s capital, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

Chatterjee Stands by Carbon Pricing Support, FERC Launches Transmission Rating Fix

19 Nov

The first meeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since the presidential election, and the first since President Trump removed Neil Chatterjee as chair, began unusually late. Chatterjee began by saying he presumably was demoted earlier this month because of his support for opening the door to state carbon pricing. But “It was the right thing […]

CAISO Rules Evolve to Accommodate Solar Plus Storage

19 Nov

To accommodate the growth in battery projects paired with solar plants, the California grid operator’s board Nov. 18 further loosened constraints and will allow project operators to send more or less power into the market than initially bid. Allowing deviations from original bids aims to use more renewable power produced by combined solar-battery generators, reducing […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

Senate Advances FERC Nominees

18 Nov

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted Nov. 18 to advance two nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the full Senate, one Democrat and one Republican. Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AL) said a top priority of hers was to send the nominees to the Senate Floor to allow a vote next […]

Klamath Dams Closer to Demolition

17 Nov

Four years after a historic agreement was reached to remove dams on the Klamath River to revive the once surging salmon runs, a new revision was announced Nov. 17. It is expected to satisfy a controversial condition added by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last July. “According to many FERC nerds, this is going to […]

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