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FERC Chair: Texas Outages a “Humanitarian Crisis,” Agency Opens Door to Enviro Justice

18 Feb

The massive days-long power outage caused by frigid weather across Texas and the Midwest, resulting in numerous deaths, is a “humanitarian crisis,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick declared. He and his fellow commissioner urged against pointing fingers at any one energy resource causing the power shortages, whether gas plants or wind turbines, at […]

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 […]

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 […]

FERC Investigates California August Outages

17 Sep

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee announced Thursday that his agency is looking into what caused a shortage of electricity that led to rolling outages in California on Aug. 14 and 15. He said he is concerned about heat related events and wildfires. “Climate change is increasing the ferocity and number of weather events,” […]

Juice: Scrutiny of Demand Response Failures Needed

15 Sep

The analysis of the rolling blackouts is in the works but there was advanced warning of some serious systematic problems, making some mistakes avoidable. The joint agency root cause report of the mid-August blackouts may be underway, but some problems were just waiting to happen. California was clearly and inexcusably on a path to rely […]

Energy Chair Sounds Alarm Over Skyrocketing Electric Bills

9 Sep

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair warned that increases in California utility bills are becoming untenable. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) pointed to the private utilities’ tab to reduce climate-aggravated wildfires, which gets passed on to customers. “Rates are really getting out of control,” Holden said during a Sept. 9 Power Association of Northern California meeting, […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

The Buzz

20 Aug

After 400,000 Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers had their power cut late last week because extreme heat spiked energy demand, Gov. Newsom tells energy officials to analyze the screw up. The grid operator, and heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission also must […]

Speedy Analysis of Rolling Blackouts Ordered

20 Aug

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, Independent System Operator and California Energy Commission to immediately determine why they failed to anticipate the mid-August squeeze on electricity resources and the cause of the rolling outages. In a letter sent early this week, the governor also demanded to know how the […]

Load Shifts and Less Consumption Avert More Blackouts

20 Aug

Widespread conservation at every level of electricity use, from industry, to households, is credited with lowering otherwise soaring demand on the grid on Aug. 17 and 18 by almost 4,000 MW. According to an Aug. 19 joint letter to the governor from three state energy agencies, several energy and water agencies reduced their demand. So […]

High Demand Drives up Power Prices to $1,500 MWh in So Cal

18 Aug

Rolling blackouts that had been forecast were averted Monday and Tuesday thanks to large and small customers who slashed their energy use. Peak demand on Monday dropped more than 4,000 MW below the projected high of 49,827 MW. “The response was stunning,” Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during […]

CA Gets It that the Power System Must Manage EV Charging

18 Aug

California’s heat wave-induced blackouts came during evening peak demand spikes. If California fails to manage electric vehicle charging it could make those spikes a lot more common, according to new research. California leads the U.S. with nearly 750,000  of the estimated 1.5 million U.S. light duty EVs. Electric vehicle sales rose over 60% in 2019.  […]

CA Grid Operator: “We are scouring every corner of our world.”

17 Aug

More than 3 million California homes could have their power cut off by the three investor-owned utilities starting late afternoon on Monday, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said. “It is a perfect storm,” he warned during an Aug. 17 early afternoon press call. Demand is expected to be higher […]

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 […]

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 […]

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