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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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Sacramento Makes Bold Move to 100% Clean Power by 2030

20 Jul

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board voted unanimously the evening of July 16 for an extremely aggressive carbon neutral power target: 100% in just ten years. Previously the utility had aimed for 2040. California’s all out carbon neutral electricity mandate is set for 2045. “The threat of climate change is too great for anything short […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important time for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. At the federal level, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals July 10 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s […]

Tribal Focus in Latest $30+M Round of CEC Storage Combination Grants

8 Jul

The California Energy Commission continued to award grants to innovative energy storage projects and microgrids, including two novels ones that will use discarded electric vehicle batteries to store solar power. Awards unanimously approved this week, totaling more than $31 million, aim to help ensure California slashes carbon emissions and attains carbon neutrality within 15 years. […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

Less Demand and Cleaner Options Spell Lower 2019 Costs for CAISO

7 Jul

The California Independent System Operator saw a whopping 17% reduction in overall wholesale electricity market costs in 2019 compared to the year before, thanks to energy efficiency, the deployment of small renewables, more hydropower and less natural gas. Total energy costs last year were $8.8 billion, at an average $41 per megawatt-hour, compared to $10.8 […]

CAISO Seeks to Optimize Combined Solar-Storage Production

7 Jul

The grid operator board will vote later this month on a proposed change that would add flexibility in the amount of megawatts the California Independent System Operator can accept into its real-time market from co-located solar and storage facilities, and other mixed fuel projects.  The rule change, expected to go into effect in the fall, […]

Shorts

2 Jun

Updated June 4 A coalition of alternative energy and clean air organizations urged the governor to convene a task force focused on helping replace the 100,000 clean energy jobs lost during the pandemic.  The disappeared jobs represent almost 20% of the clean energy industry. “The intersecting impacts of the pandemic and climate change call for […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

Guest Juice: Blockchain for Bitcoin and DER

18 May

by Wayne Hicks A common vision for the future of California and the nation’s energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. Sounds great in theory. But how can […]

Big Grants for Lithium Recovery & Clean Microgrid in Disadvantaged Community

14 May

The California Energy Commission May 13 approved $33 million in grants, two for more than $9 million, in support of innovative clean energy projects. The five commissioners approved $9.5 million to help California become a leader in the recovery of lithium from brine and make geothermal baseload projects more affordable and efficient. California is home […]

Shorts

12 May

Updated March 13 The colorful S. David Freeman, who headed the state’s largest public municipal power agencies, died at 94 years of age. Freeman also was head of the short-lived California Power Authority created during the 2000-01 energy crisis by former Gov. Gray Davis. Freeman helped the state sign $42 billion in overpriced, long-term power […]

Report: Mandates Fuel Cheaper Cleaner Grid

4 May

Years of mandates under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard continue to lower the cost of non-fossil fueled electricity. The RPS requires that 44% of utility, community energy and other electricity supplier resources come from solar, wind, geothermal or other eligible resources by 2024, rising to 52% in 2027 and 60% in 2030. “The average price of […]

Covid-19 & Looming Wildfires Jolt Utilities

28 Apr

The ravages of the pandemic are still with us in California as the threat of wildfire heightens. The deadly combination creates challenges for utilities pressing to reduce the risk of fire ignited by power lines before temperatures peak. As it was, the virus created difficulties for the investor-owned utilities working to mitigate blazes in high […]

Community Choice Roundup

16 Apr

Community energy representatives protested the pending California Public Utilities Commission decision putting the private utilities in charge of a centralized capacity market to buy supply cushions for a variety of energy providers. If adopted, the decision would conflict with “a key objective of the Commission’s reliability oversight,” which is to safeguard community energy’s “self-procurement autonomy,” […]

The Buzz

9 Apr

The Energy Commission approves city ordinances that beat state building efficiency rules. It applauds California cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The Commission also continues to dole out millions of dollars in grants at its first remote business meeting to promote cleaner food and beer production, offshore wind, renewable gas and safer natural […]