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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]

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 […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]

CPUC Lets Big Hybrid Resources Play in Supply Cushion Market, Blasts FERC’s Transmission Bonuses

25 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission approved changes to local resource adequacy parameters for 2021-23, including counting capacity from front-of-the meter solar and storage projects and hydro resources. It does not allow behind-the-meter renewable projects paired with storage to participate in the local supply cushion market. The CPUC’s 5-0 decision creates a working group made up […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

CAISO Chief Laments Lack of Regional Market & Supply Imbalance

15 Jun

Falling sun and wind resources occurring as demand rises, particularly in the evenings, has created a worsening supply gap. It grew 50% this year, California Independent System Operator Chief Executive Officer and President Steve Berberich said. This gap or ramp is now 15,000 MW over a three-hour stretch.  It is expected to reach 20,000 MW. […]

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 […]

The Behind-The-Meter Frontier

9 Apr

Your home could also be your power plant, according to an April 7 article in Wired Magazine. It highlights a community housing project in Colorado that’s experimenting with advanced software that tracks the units’ solar power and directs it to where it’s needed—relaying it from those with surplus PV output to those that need more […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

CAISO Approves $142M in New Transmission, Sees Decline in Load

26 Mar

Demand on the California grid has dropped by 5% since state residents were instructed to stay in their homes to slow the pace of the coronavirus, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during the March 25 board meeting. During its first totally telephonic business meeting mid-week, the board of […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

CPUC Rewards Utility Shareholders $43M for Energy Savings, Despite Concerns

27 Feb

Shareholders of three of the four investor-owned utilities were awarded more than $43 million for efficiency program savings funded by ratepayers, in a resolution passed by the California Public Utilities Commission. The awards, approved Feb 27 on a 4-1 vote, cover the 2017 to 2018 period. The lone opponent was Commissioner Marta Guzman Aceves, who […]

Energy Savings & Storage Gain Broad Backing From House Panel

13 Feb

Federal legislation to increase energy efficiency across various sectors and advance energy storage received wide support Feb. 12 from a House Energy & Commerce Committee subcommittee. Before the lawmakers were bipartisan bills to increase energy savings in the residential, industrial and commercial sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save consumers money and create jobs. Lawmakers […]

Shorts

4 Feb

Unprecedented levels of solar, wind and geothermal power fueled California’s grid last year. That includes renewable resources meeting 80 percent of the peak electricity demand at one point in the afternoon of May 15, the California Independent System Operator reported Feb 3. Renewables also provided nearly 42 percent of peak demand on Aug. 8, providing […]

House Bill Sets Clean Energy High Bar for All 50 States

30 Jan

One day after pitching legislation setting a national carbon neutrality mandate by 2050, House democrats followed it with a $760 billion package backing it. The huge investment proposal would go to modernize aging infrastructure, making it safer and more resilient to climate change. It also would partially fund the carbon neutrality bill. “This bold framework […]