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JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

The Buzz

18 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power. Soaring demand in Texas, frozen power plants, and massive […]

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 […]

The Buzz

11 Feb

The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options. Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities […]

More Fossil Power to Meet Summer 2021 Peak Demand Expected

11 Feb

In anticipation of high summer demand, including when the sun sets, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered investor-owned utilities to line up more supply resources, expected largely to be gas-fired power. That runs counter to the state mandate to ramp down fossil-fueled electricity to zero. “Customers deserve a reliable grid,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said […]

Shorts

10 Feb

Gov. Newsom appointed Jan Schori, former Sacramento Municipal Utility District chief, to the five-member grid board. She will fill the void left by Dave Olsen, who retired. Her term runs to the end of this year. Newsom also reappointed California Independent System Operator board member Mary Leslie to a three-year term. “The ISO and our […]

The Buzz

4 Feb

State regulatory staff propose further crimping demand response, much to the dismay of advocates of these behind-the-meter resources. Making matters worse for them is the disparity in treatment between DR and fossil power plants. The City of San Diego plans to issue a second request for bids for electricity and gas services because the long-time […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

News Roundup: CA is #1 in EVs, PG&E Sells Wireless Access to Towers for $1B

3 Feb

Updated Feb. 3 California has done more than any other state to advance vehicle electrification, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “It is the only state to set deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy-duty trucks, and commercial vehicles, and to adopt statewide building codes for wiring most types of new buildings […]

State Electricity Demand Projected to Remain Flat

26 Jan

In its latest forecast for the coming decade, the California Energy Commission projects statewide demand won’t return to 2019 levels before 2023. The combination of layoffs and work from home have reduced commercial and industrial electrical load. That lower demand is expected to endure even accounting for projected increases in zero emission vehicles, which will […]

The Buzz

22 Jan

Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green […]

Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

The Buzz

14 Jan

One of the avenues for helping secure power supplies during safety shutoffs and heat waves is a proceeding on clean microgrids. But a new California Public Utilities Commission decision makes little headway on advancing the microgrid market because of concerns about ratepayer costs and safety. Those concerns do little to appease low-income advocates who object […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

CPUC Orders Utilities to Line Up More Resources for Peak Summer Demand

11 Jan

To avoid rolling outages due to electricity supply shortages, state officials direct the three investor-owned utilities to line up additional resources by mid-February. The aim is to ensure peak demand and demand as the sun sets, known as net peak, are met this summer.   Under a Jan. 8 proposed decision by an administrative law […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

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 […]

The Buzz

10 Dec

Liane Randolph, who has been at the California Public Utilities Commission for the last five years is making a big move. She is the next Air Resources Board chair, replacing Mary Nichols, who may head to Washington DC. Southern California Edison signs another big round of energy storage deals this week. That includes 585 MW […]

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 […]

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