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Grid Operator Raises Its Extreme Summer Peak Estimate by 6%

13 May

The California Independent System Operator is “cautiously optimistic” that the grid will be more stable this summer than last because there will be 2,000 MW of added resources by Sept. 1 to help meet soaring consumption from cranked up air conditioners as the sun sets in late afternoon and early evening. That includes supply from […]

Energy Commission Pumps More Money into Clean Economy

13 May

The California Energy Commission doled out another $39 million in clean energy funding Wednesday, adding to the hundreds of millions of dollars it has approved over the last several years. The largest share of this round of grants, $9 million, went to advance hydrogen fueling of buses. Of that amount, $5 million is to go […]

SCE’s and SDG&E’s Earnings Rise, PG&E’s Fall

4 May

Updated May 5 Pacific Gas & Electric Corp: the parent company of the utility, reported a considerable drop in first quarter earnings, $120 million, or 6 cents a share. That contrasts to $371 million, or 57 cents a share, for the first quarter of 2020. On the utility side, PG&E’s first quarter earnings were $174 […]

The Buzz

22 Apr

State regulators green light Pacific Gas & Electric’s whopping $7.5 billion ratepayer-backed bond proposal to cover its 2017 fire liability. The tab soars to $11 million when adding in the interest, which PG&E promises to repay over 30 years but with no guarantees. Consumer advocates are appalled. One calls the decision “reprehensible.” A new issue […]

New Issue at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Raises Specter of Energy Crisis

22 Apr

A new problem has surfaced at the troubled Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2, forcing it offline again this week. The 1,150 MW unit has suffered four crashes the last several months because of ongoing problems in the unit’s electric generator. Those have occurred since a $100 million rebuild in 2019. “The current work […]

Grid Operator Board Okays Restricting Exports During Extreme Heat

22 Apr

To avert blackouts this summer, the California grid operator board voted April 21 to limit exports of in-state power when the grid is highly stressed by extreme temperatures. Last August, an error in California Independent System Operator software allowed power scheduled for export in the day-ahead market to be sent out of state even though […]

One Clean Microgrid Bill Sails Ahead, Challenges Ahead for Another with Buried Cable

20 Apr

Local agencies would get needed guidance on the best places to site clean, stand-alone microgrids under a bill that’s gaining traction. Passing out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee on a 12-0 vote April 19, SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) also comes with money for the microgrids and emphasizes their siting […]

California Prepares for Worsening Wildfires

13 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law April 13 a legislative package providing $536 million in emergency funding for wildfire prevention and response. “California is taking bold, early action to protect our high-risk communities from the upcoming wildfire season before it starts,” Newsom said. Proceeds from the state’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade program and its General Fund provided […]

Bioenergy and Efficiency Rebate Bills Pass Key Committee

8 Apr

The California Assembly seems increasingly interested in electricity made from different forms of so-called biowaste. Legislation to promote the use of bioenergy as an alternative to the open burning of crop and forestry waste passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 7. The bill also would fund the reduction of methane releases from dairies […]

Sonoma County DA Charges PG&E with Five Felonies

6 Apr

The Sonoma County District Attorney filed criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric April 6, alleging it ignited the Oct. 23, 2019, Kincaid Fire. It harmed six fire fighters, destroyed 374 buildings, and torched nearly 78,000 acres of land over a period of two weeks. The utility also was charged with causing air pollution through […]

JUICE: Covid Wreaks Havoc on Legislative Hearings for a Second Year

1 Apr

It used to be, pre-pandemic, that spring was the time that numerous bills were vetted and voted on during weekly legislative policy committee hearings. Energy legislation was debated for hours, extending into the night from time to time. Rarely did they match for length of the brutal Eternal Peace hearings when California’s 1996 deregulation law […]

Shorts

29 Mar

The state snowpack is 59% of the April 1 average, at 16.5 inches, the Department of Water Resources announced. The key measuring station at Phillip’s Station in South Lake Tahoe had a snow depth of 83% of average, at 21 inches. “While the Southern Sierra remains well below average for both rain and snow, the […]

CPUC Summer Demand Side Decision Cuts Back on Fossil Power

25 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission March 25 unanimously approved a revised emergency resource plan for the private utilities for the next two summers. Unlike the initial proposal, this new decision prohibits using increased gas generation from plants with existing contracts and from revived plants to meet high demand. Many clean air advocates were pleased by […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

Shorts

17 Mar

SoCalGas’ 2020 energy efficiency programs helped save more energy than any other natural gas utility in the U.S, the utility claimed March 17. “By using less energy, SoCalGas customers saved more than $44 million in energy costs last year alone and reduced greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change by more than 211,000 metric tons–equal […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

Senators Disagree on Energy Resource Reliability and Affordability

11 Mar

The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee debated March 11 how to achieve a reliable, resilient, and affordable grid given the increase in extreme weather conditions and blackouts. The importance of resource diversity was stressed, but there was no agreement as to which resources are affordable or reliable. However, microgrid and battery systems got […]

Regional Imbalance Market Board Acts to Avert Summer Outages

11 Mar

The Western Energy Imbalance Market board March 10 approved three changes to help avoid a repeat of last August’s blackouts in the California Independent System Operator territory during extreme heat. CAISO also continues to make software fixes. One software glitch allowed the export of power when supplies were critically short as heat and demand spiked […]

The Buzz

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye. East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect […]

SCE Seeks to Curb Shutoffs this Summer

2 Mar

Southern California Edison believes its latest summer grid hardening plan will avoid a repeat of last year’s 16 public safety shutoffs, utility representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission March 1. SCE was required to submit a corrective action plan last month to the CPUC after getting raked over the coals during a Jan. 26 […]

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