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Roundup: Power Shutoffs in Winter, San Diego Community Energy to Launch Soon

19 Jan

Highly unusual winds for this time of year prompted preventive power shutoffs and warnings to more than 300,000 utility customers early this week, nearly all in Southern California Edison territory. About 78,546 SCE customers across six counties had their power cut by Tuesday afternoon. Most were in Los Angeles, Riverside and Ventura counties. In addition, […]

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 […]

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 […]

More Community Aggregators Come of Age, Get Rated

7 Jan

Community energy organizations in California continue to do well on their early investment credit ratings, with five of the entities now rated. Two Bay Area community energy organizations, which supply energy to former private utility ratepayers, are the most recent to receive solid grades. Silicon Valley Clean Energy received an “A” from S&P Global Ratings […]

News Roundup: New CPUC Executive Director

6 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission named a new executive director to replace the former chief Alice Stebbins, who was fired in August. Rachel Peterson, who has been the Acting Executive Director, became the new director Jan. 5. “It is a great move for the CPUC,” Arthur O’Donnell, energy analyst and journalist, and former CPUC staffer, […]

Shorts

15 Dec

Updated Dec. 17 President-elect Joe Biden announced Dec. 17 he will nominate former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the new Secretary of Energy. He also plans to name former U.S. EPA chief Gina McCarthy National Climate Advisor. The appointed Deputy National Climate Advisor is Ali Zaidi. Zaidi is currently New York’s Deputy Secretary to the […]

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 […]

PG&E Rates Climb and Climb Again

3 Dec

As Californians pay higher electric bills because work and other activities are confined to home, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved a request from Pacific Gas & Electric to increase its revenue this year by $9.1 billion, a nearly 7% increase over last year. In 2021, there will be an additional $316 million rise […]

Four More NorCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

Guest Juice: Energy Crisis 2.0: It’s Time to Use Our Smart Meters

2 Nov

The rolling blackouts, according to the Preliminary Report on Causes of August Rotating Outages, were fundamentally caused by a California Independent System Operator software glitch and community choice agencies, utilities and direct access providers collectively under-scheduling customer demand in the Day-Ahead Market by ~7% to 8% on Aug. 14 and 15. Ordinarily the under-scheduling wouldn’t […]

The Buzz

30 Oct

Two California private utility parents report third quarter earnings, one bearing good news and the other far from rosy. Pacific Gas & Electric gets a post-bankruptcy bounce. Edison International goes the opposite direction. SoCalGas gets slammed for its climate damaging activities, from undermining home electrification to suing the state for its clean trucks rule. Sen. […]

New Energy Providers Join Forces Against Entrenched Agency Rules

29 Oct

Bureaucratic red tape at the California Public Utilities Commission prevented East Bay Community Energy from contracting for clean, behind-the-meter electricity last year that could have provided power or lowered demand during the August heat waves. The resources were designated to help meet East Bay’s 2020 resource adequacy obligations. The community aggregator says it also is […]

Energy Commission Funds Push for Clean Backup Generation

27 Oct

Repeated wildfires and power shutoffs are driving sales of backup generators at homes, businesses, hospitals, and community centers across northern California. Diesel generators are flying off the shelves. But the desperation also is strengthening the push for clean systems that can island from the grid, also store power, and potentially hasten the commercialization of more […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

“Super” CCA Collaboration for 500 MW of Long Duration Storage

19 Oct

Eight community choice aggregators are forming a procurement agency to jointly invest in much needed but neglected long duration energy storage. Leaders of the new Joint Powers Agency will issue a groundbreaking solicitation from their “super JPA“ that will pool the eight members’ resources and bid for up to 500 MW of long duration energy […]

Lawmakers Told Grid Imbalances Can Be Solved by Next Summer

13 Oct

The California Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Vice Chair Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) castigated the state’s three energy agencies at a Monday hearing, saying their joint report on rolling outages in August was essentially finger pointing and excuses. The heads of those agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator and California Energy Commission, continued to […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

The Buzz

9 Oct

The release of the much anticipated first analysis of the major causes of the mid-August blackouts highlights warnings previously raised. That includes agency resource forecasting and planning missing the mark on climate and a cleaner grid. Major stakeholders—from utilities to community energy—insist that clean reliable resources are needed now more than ever. The California Public […]

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