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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 […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

Shorts

28 Apr

Updated April 30 The last snow survey of the season found the state snowpack at 37% of the May average. That equates to 8.4 inches of snow water equivalent. The standard survey at Phillips Station in Lake Tahoe was 1.5 inches, with a snow water equivalent of 0.5 inches, which is 3% of the May […]

Shorts

21 Apr

The California Independent System Operator reported overall drops in energy demand because of the shelter in place orders. Weekday load fell 4.5%, with peak demand falling 7% during the work week between March 17-April 12. Power use on the weekends was 0.5% lower than usual, with peak demand on Saturdays and Sundays 7% lower overall. […]

Shorts

13 Apr

California’s top attorney spearheaded a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for rule changes that impede the adoption of new energy efficiency standards. “The Trump Administration is irresponsibly rewriting a rule that helps consumers save money and decreases pollution to our environment,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said April 14. He added that the pandemic […]

Shorts

1 Apr

The East Bay Community Energy is directing $1.5 million toward community relief efforts in Alameda County, it announced April 2. EBCE’s CEO Nick Chaset told the management team to identify “opportunities in the current budget to repurpose as contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts.” The efforts will be tracked at: https://ebce.org/covid The Salt River Project and […]

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 […]

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