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Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

19 Nov

State utility regulators aim to move on demand side resources to avoid outages when it is roasting hot next summer. They plan to take the unusual step of expediting changes to California Public Utilities Commission resource adequacy, demand response and other load reduction programs. Over at the nation’s capital, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

Air Regulators Fight Diesel Generators but Energy Commission Barely Budges

17 Nov

The need for reliable power clashed with the need for breathable air for nearly five hours at the California Energy Commission on Monday. Companies with data centers again pushed to be allowed to install hundreds of megawatts of new backup generation that runs on diesel fuel. The possibility of this much additional pollution in California […]

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 Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

Juice: Scrutiny of Demand Response Failures Needed

15 Sep

The analysis of the rolling blackouts is in the works but there was advanced warning of some serious systematic problems, making some mistakes avoidable. The joint agency root cause report of the mid-August blackouts may be underway, but some problems were just waiting to happen. California was clearly and inexcusably on a path to rely […]

PG&E Shuts off Power in 22 Counties, SDG&E & SCE Customers Lose Power

8 Sep

High temperatures and fires over the Labor Day weekend put the grid to the test. While the California Independent System Operator managed to keep supply and demand in balance Sept. 5-7, tens of thousands of customers of the three investor-owned utilities lost power or had it shut off because of wildfires during and after the […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

CA Grid Operator: “We are scouring every corner of our world.”

17 Aug

More than 3 million California homes could have their power cut off by the three investor-owned utilities starting late afternoon on Monday, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said. “It is a perfect storm,” he warned during an Aug. 17 early afternoon press call. Demand is expected to be higher […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

The Buzz

25 Jun

California sets the nation’s first statewide mandate to electrify medium- and heavy-duty trucks beginning in 2024. State energy regulators and utilities will play key roles in the success of the transition away from polluting diesel trucks to electrified ones by getting needed charging infrastructure built. The California Public Utilities Commission expands the local resources adequacy […]

California Mandates Electric Trucks

25 Jun

The California Air Resources Board voted nearly unanimously June 25 to require that at least 100,000 trucks on California roads, three quarter ton and heavier, be electric by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gases and diesel pollution. Five years later, the number is to grow to 300,000 zero emission trucks under the Advanced Clean Truck rule. […]

Air Board Set to Adopt Electric Truck Rule

23 Jun

The California Air Resources Board is expected to approve the first statewide clean truck standard in the country June 25. The Advanced Clean Truck Rule is to have half the trucks sold in California be electric by 2030. That is estimated to result in 100,000 alternatively fueled trucks on the roads by the end of […]

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 […]

Humboldt Towns Protected Against Shutoffs, Locals Say the Change is Overdue

16 Jun

When power is deliberately shut off to avoid fires amid high wind in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 20 cities along the North Coast won’t have to worry. That is because PG&E reconfigured its 163 MW natural gas fired power plant in Humboldt County so it can disconnect from the grid and continue supplying the […]

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