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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 […]

News Roundup: CPUC to Oppose Payday for Transmission Owners

3 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 State energy regulators are expected to soon ratify their staff’s formal opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March plan that would give transmission owners handsome payoffs for cybersecurity upgrades. The awards would come even if the businesses were already making the investments without the incentives. FERC proposes the changes to benefit […]

The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

News Roundup: Trump Names Two FERC Nominees

28 Jul

After months of ignoring the Democrats’ nominee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while advancing the Republican choice for another, President Donald Trump July 27 accepted two prospective commissioners, one from each party. Democrats chose Allison Clements, and Republicans chose Mark Christie. “In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, […]

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 […]

FERC Unsettles Hard-won Deal to Remove Klamath Dams

23 Jul

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission threw a wrench into the planned demolition of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River straddling California and Oregon. The dams are owned by Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp. Last week, FERC approved a partial transfer of licensing for the 163 MW dams on the lower river, from PacifiCorp to a nonprofit […]

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 […]

FERC to Tighten Dam Safety Rules Post Oroville Collapse, Okays Klamath Dam Removal

16 Jul

Federal regulators proposed updating dam safety requirements in response to the 2017 failure of the spillway at the Oroville Dam and two recent collapses in Michigan. The partial crumbling of Oroville’s spillway, the nation’s highest dam, forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the spillway. The Federal […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]

Court Slams FERC Roadblocks to Pipeline Permit Challenges

30 Jun

Federal energy regulators’ habit of postponing landowners’ challenges to permits for natural gas pipelines that run across their property was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals June 30. The issue before the court boiled down to the legitimacy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of so called “tolling orders,” which delay […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

FERC Gives Some Temporary Relief to Landowners Fighting Pipelines

18 Jun

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that landowners challenging property seizures for a pipeline shouldn’t see bulldozers on their land after a permit is granted for at least the next 30 days while the agency reconsiders the certification. But a key controversy remains; what happens after a project permit is granted, but while property owners […]

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 […]

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

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 […]