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The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

New Grid Operator Chief Comes from Bonneville Power

6 Aug

The California Independent System Operator chose the current head of the Bonneville Power Administration as its new chief. Elliot Mainzer is BPA’s chief executive officer and president, who will replace CAISO’s outgoing Steve Berberich Sept. 30, the grid operator announced Aug. 6. Mainzer, originally from San Francisco, has been BPA’s administrator for the last seven […]

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 […]

The Buzz

23 Jul

Energy storage is surging in California, with much of it being built next to solar plants. The grid operator board approves giving these complimentary co-located projects a market boost so they can fill the gap in peak supplies over the next three years. After many years, dozens of stakeholders reached an agreement on removing PacifiCorp’s […]

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 […]

The Buzz

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

CA Gas Utilities Produce Cutting Edge Clean Biogas

23 Jun

SoCal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 22 a significant breakthrough in a new electrochemical technology that converts carbon dioxide in raw biogas to renewable natural gas that can be put into pipelines. It is a “critical improvement in the science of upgrading waste emissions to renewable gas,” according to the utilities. This […]

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. […]

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 […]

FERC Advances LNG Projects Amid Fall in Demand

21 May

Federal regulators May 21 declined to reexamine their approval of the permit for the controversial Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Oregon. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also certified an LNG project on Alaska’s North Slope. The approvals come as global demand for the fossil fuel has fallen because of pandemic policies. Commissioner Rick […]

Shorts

18 May

Updated May 21 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced May 21 it would hold a virtual conference July 8-9 to assess the impacts of Covid-19 and shelter-in-place orders on the energy industry. The conference goal, according to FERC Chair Neil Chatterjee is to “help chart the path forward.” Panel discussions are to include the energy […]

Summer Power Supplies Are Solid Unless it’s too Hot, CAISO Finds

18 May

Triple digit temperatures in late summer across the West could stress the power grid because of lower hydropower imports from the Pacific Northwest, a May 15 report by California’s grid operator concludes. The California Independent System Operator estimates that with average summer temperatures supplies would meet demand, estimated at 45,907 MW in a 1-in-2 scenario. […]

Home Power Use Continues to Rise, Overall Demand Falls

12 May

Residential electricity use rose 12.4% last month statewide, while total use fell 9% compared to April 2019, as the changes resulting from stay at home orders settled in. That’s according to a California Energy Commission report released May 12. In March, home electricity use increased 8.9%, but total use dropped 4% because of lower commercial […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]