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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 […]

New Grid Operator Chief Comes from Bonneville Power

6 Aug

The California Independent System Operator chose the current head of the Bonneville Power Administration as its new chief. Elliot Mainzer is BPA’s chief executive officer and president, who will replace CAISO’s outgoing Steve Berberich Sept. 30, the grid operator announced Aug. 6. Mainzer, originally from San Francisco, has been BPA’s administrator for the last seven […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

East Bay Won’t Accept PG&E Nuclear Power

23 Apr

Late in the evening of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, the East Bay Community Energy Board rejected roughly 700 GWh of nuclear power from Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon facility for this year.  The vote was 10-5. More than 60 people spoke during the remote April 22 meeting, protesting any acceptance of the […]

CCAs Diablo Dilemma

18 Feb

The loaded issue of whether to accept a portion of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo nuclear power plant output has led some community choice entities to reject the offer this year, even though they’re paying for it. That includes Marin Clean Energy and Sonoma Clean Power. Local clean energy advocates find it unacceptable to take […]

Guest Juice: Energy Storage Prospects Rise with Fall in Renewable Costs

20 Jan

By Wayne Hicks An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow—is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it’s also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it’s needed. Declining costs in available technologies have propelled interest in energy storage forward like never […]

The Buzz

16 Jan

State energy regulators give Southern California Edison the green light to collect $4.7 billion for projected 2020 energy costs during their first meeting of the year. The California Public Utilities Commission also votes unanimously to dedicate most of the Self Generation Incentive Program rebates to energy storage in fire-stressed communities. In addition, the commission approves […]

Senate Energy Panel Okays Outage Penalties, Rejects Big Hydro as Renewable

15 Jan

Legislation that would impose fines on utilities for unreasonable power outages and require them to compensate businesses and other customers harmed by blackouts passed the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee Jan. 15. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) authored SB 378 because private utility “financial incentives err on the side of blackouts.” Weiner accused utilities […]

Back in the Spotlight: Power Outages and Supplies, and the Definition of Renewable

14 Jan

Before lawmakers this session is Senate legislation to make buildings more fire resistant in high risk areas, protect customers during utility power shutoffs, and rework the renewables mandate. A few of these bills will be heard Jan. 15 in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communication Committee’s first hearing of the year. Three bills seek to […]

House Bill Seeks 100% Carbon Free Economy

8 Jan

House Energy & Commerce Committee members Jan. 8 unveiled an ambitious climate protection legislative framework to achieve a 100% clean economy in the U.S. in 30 years. The bill seeks to transform the American economy by 2050, said Energy Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ). It is “an enormous challenge,” he noted, but one that is […]

CEC Okays San Francisco & Modesto Resource Plans

14 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 14 signed off on the integrated resources plans for the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s Hetch Hetchy power system, as well as for the Modesto Irrigation District. “Each is consistent with the requirements of SB 350,” Paul Deaver, CEC program manager, told commissioners at this week’s business meeting. The San […]