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Five Fed Energy Regulators at the Helm

19 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first meeting of 2021 was the first time in many months that it operated with a full five-member board. The last time there was a full commission was August 2018. “A little bit of normality is creeping back in,” James Danley, FERC chair, said at the start of the Jan. […]

The Buzz

7 Jan

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 […]

The Buzz

17 Dec

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 […]

FERC Votes 2-1 Against Interfering in CAISO Market

17 Dec

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 […]

JUICE: CAISO Board’s First Woman Chair Focuses on Renewable Integration

9 Dec

The California Independent System Operator is charged with operating 80% of the state’s massive electric highway. The first board of this semi-public entity launched in May 1997. It had 25 directors, five of them women. It included a range of representatives, from private utilities, to independent generation companies, which thrived temporarily, to environmentalists. The first […]

News Roundup: Stebbins Sues CPUC, Senator Seeks to Advance Decarbonization

8 Dec

Alice Stebbins, the former California Public Utilities Commission executive director, who was recently fired, filed a lawsuit against the agency. She claims she was illegally ousted for being a whistle blower. “Ms. Stebbins was fired because she had the courage to blow the whistle, insist on collecting money due to the CPUC, and try to […]

The Buzz

3 Dec

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Grid Operator’s Budget Inches Downward

16 Nov

The California Independent System Operator’s draft 2021 budget—ranging from salary and contractor costs to market income—is its lowest since 2006, April Gordon, CAISO financial planning director, said during a Nov. 16 presentation. The grid operator’s spending plan for next year is a proposed $181.6 million, 3% below this year’s $187 million revenue requirement. The budget […]

CAISO Executive Redo Launched

10 Nov

The new chief of the California Independent System Operator, Elliot Mainzer, announced an executive reorganization Nov. 6. It switches around managers in market policy, operations, planning and technology departments with the aim of broadening their understanding of how the grid works as it moves towards decarbonization.  “Internal mobility brings new thinking, new blood and new […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

Fed Regulators Make Way for Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Markets

15 Oct

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened the door a crack to allow state carbon pricing into wholesale markets, proposing a set of policy guidelines for grid operators. It was approved on a 2-1 vote cast Oct. 15. The California Independent System Operator has incorporated carbon pricing into its market since 2013, and the new proposal […]

The Buzz

9 Oct

The release of the much anticipated first analysis of the major causes of the mid-August blackouts highlights warnings previously raised. That includes agency resource forecasting and planning missing the mark on climate and a cleaner grid. Major stakeholders—from utilities to community energy—insist that clean reliable resources are needed now more than ever. The California Public […]

CPUC Speeds Up Effort to Bring More Power Online

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission vowed Oct. 8 to accelerate its usual process in order to make more energy resources available by next summer. It also promised to modernize planning to reflect extreme heat, particularly as solar and wind supplies decrease with the setting sun.  The commitment was made two days after the California Independent […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

FERC Opening Markets to Distributed Resources Not Cause for Celebration in California Yet

29 Sep

Distributed resources advocates across the country celebrated the 2-1 vote approving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 2222 for opening capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets to aggregated distributed energy. They applauded FERC’s pomise to “usher in the electric grid of the future and promote competition in electric markets.” The celebration may have been premature, especially […]

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