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The Buzz

13 May

Additional resources give the California Independent System Operator more confidence in this summer’s grid. More than half will come online as the sun sets and air conditioners fire up. The grid operator also points to other resources in the event of intense peak demand if there is another whopper heat wave across the West. The […]

Grid Operator Raises Its Extreme Summer Peak Estimate by 6%

13 May

The California Independent System Operator is “cautiously optimistic” that the grid will be more stable this summer than last because there will be 2,000 MW of added resources by Sept. 1 to help meet soaring consumption from cranked up air conditioners as the sun sets in late afternoon and early evening. That includes supply from […]

Faster Permits for Installing Vehicle Chargers Focus of Bill

11 May

Legislation to speed up plodding local permitting for home vehicle chargers and commercial charging stations to ensure 250,000 chargers are installed in California by 2025 is on the Assembly Floor. AB 970 by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would deem a permit application approved 25 days after submission unless city or […]

The Buzz

29 Apr

State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its […]

CAISO Moves Toward Better Use of Storage

29 Apr

The California grid operator issued a paper Wednesday outlining proposals to make its market more friendly for energy storage after sharp criticism from storage providers. Their complaints include that compensation is inadequate because the current market algorithm is too limited to accommodate batteries in the real-time market. The aim is “to fully integrate these resources […]

The Buzz

22 Apr

State regulators green light Pacific Gas & Electric’s whopping $7.5 billion ratepayer-backed bond proposal to cover its 2017 fire liability. The tab soars to $11 million when adding in the interest, which PG&E promises to repay over 30 years but with no guarantees. Consumer advocates are appalled. One calls the decision “reprehensible.” A new issue […]

Grid Operator Board Okays Restricting Exports During Extreme Heat

22 Apr

To avert blackouts this summer, the California grid operator board voted April 21 to limit exports of in-state power when the grid is highly stressed by extreme temperatures. Last August, an error in California Independent System Operator software allowed power scheduled for export in the day-ahead market to be sent out of state even though […]

The Buzz

15 Apr

State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E’s certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of […]

Federal Regulators Take Steps to Lower Utility Incentives, Integrate State Carbon Pricing

15 Apr

Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree on the need for better transmission efficiency and a build out of high voltage lines. But the five commissioners strongly disagree on incentives for utilities that participate in independent and regional transmission organizations, which are responsible for grid modernizations. To protect ratepayers, FERC proposed April 15 on […]

Committee Votes to Keep Redondo Beach Plant Online Another Two Years

29 Mar

Over strong community objections, a multi-state agency advisory board recommended March 26 postponing once again the closing of the nearly 70-year-old coastal Redondo Beach power plant in Southern California. This time until the end of 2023. The 834 megawatts from the AES coastal natural gas units, which use seawater to cool spinning turbines, are needed […]

LA & Sacramento Reach for 100% Clean Power Years Ahead of State Mandate

25 Mar

By the end of this decade, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power can reliably, equitably, and affordably provide power that is 98% carbon free. That is according to a National Energy Renewable Laboratory study commissioned by the City of Los Angeles released March 24. NREL analyzed multiple scenarios developed over several years to […]

Guest Juice: PG&E Storage Project Enhanced by Advanced Software

23 Mar

Corrected March 26 As the value of energy storage–both utility scale and behind the meter–becomes recognized, it is also becoming clear that its true value can only be fully captured by intelligent software. That is because the software increases the value of storage by feeding it into the grid during times of higher loads and […]

Shorts

22 Mar

The grid operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market officially added four community-owned utilities and a federal power agency March 25. The newest members are Turlock Irrigation District and the Balancing Area of Northern California. BANC members are the Modesto Irrigation District, the City of Redding, the City of Roseville, and the Western Area Power Administration–Sierra Nevada […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

FERC First: Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Gas Pipeline Evaluated

18 Mar

Federal energy regulators took the unprecedented step of requiring an analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a gas pipeline certification. They also voted to remove market barriers to distributed energy resources during their March 18 meeting. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick said the vote to consider greenhouse gas impacts into decision-making removes […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

Regional Imbalance Market Board Acts to Avert Summer Outages

11 Mar

The Western Energy Imbalance Market board March 10 approved three changes to help avoid a repeat of last August’s blackouts in the California Independent System Operator territory during extreme heat. CAISO also continues to make software fixes. One software glitch allowed the export of power when supplies were critically short as heat and demand spiked […]

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 […]

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