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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 […]

The Buzz

25 Mar

State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission’s second emergency plan okays […]

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 […]

LA & Sacramento Reach for 100% Clean Power Years Ahead of State Mandate

25 Mar

By the end of this decade, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power can reliably, equitably, and affordably provide power that is 98% carbon free. That is according to a National Energy Renewable Laboratory study commissioned by the City of Los Angeles released March 24. NREL analyzed multiple scenarios developed over several years to […]

Court: No Expedited Path for Power Plant Siting Challenges

23 Mar

In a decision closely watched by groups that scrutinize power plant siting, the California Supreme Court affirmed that challenges to California Energy Commission power project decisions must go through the usual judicial review. They cannot be made directly to the state high court, pursuant to a March 19 ruling upholding a lower court decision. On […]

Guest Juice: PG&E Storage Project Enhanced by Advanced Software

23 Mar

Corrected March 26 As the value of energy storage–both utility scale and behind the meter–becomes recognized, it is also becoming clear that its true value can only be fully captured by intelligent software. That is because the software increases the value of storage by feeding it into the grid during times of higher loads and […]

Shorts

22 Mar

The grid operator’s Western Energy Imbalance Market officially added four community-owned utilities and a federal power agency March 25. The newest members are Turlock Irrigation District and the Balancing Area of Northern California. BANC members are the Modesto Irrigation District, the City of Redding, the City of Roseville, and the Western Area Power Administration–Sierra Nevada […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch. After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for […]

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 […]

FERC First: Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Gas Pipeline Evaluated

18 Mar

Federal energy regulators took the unprecedented step of requiring an analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a gas pipeline certification. They also voted to remove market barriers to distributed energy resources during their March 18 meeting. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick said the vote to consider greenhouse gas impacts into decision-making removes […]

Energy Commission Okays Big Grant for Zero Emission Truck Fueling Stations

18 Mar

The California Energy Commission March 17 approved $83 million in grants to promote low and zero emission projects and reduce data centers’ energy use. The largest grant was $50 million awarded to CalStart for truck charging refueling and charging stations. The funding aims to speed up station installations especially in disadvantaged, low income, and tribal […]

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 […]

100% Clean Energy Requires Mega Capacity Stretch

16 Mar

Achieving 100% clean electricity in California by 2045 will require a three-fold increase in current installed capacity. It is estimated to cost 6% more than a 60% renewable portfolio standard. That is according to a joint report by the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission and Air Resources Board. The report estimates an annual […]

Energy Commission Code Update Proposes More Electric Appliances in New Buildings

16 Mar

The latest edition of the California Energy Commission’s influential energy efficiency code does not include a mandate for all-electric new buildings. That is despite a new joint agency report on the path to a 100% clean energy concluding that decarbonizing energy use in new and existing buildings “is a key climate-fighting strategy.” The 2022 Title […]

Bills to Promote Green Hydrogen and Large Customer Demand Response Advance

16 Mar

A handful of measures passed out of the key Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 15. One expands the definition of green hydrogen; one adds statutory protections to a demand response program that pays commercial and industrial customers to shed load, and the third seeks to increase poor communities’ access to distributed resources. SB […]

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 […]

Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar

Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels. “Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform […]

Capital Roundup: Gov. Touts Climate Action, CPUC Rebuked for Aliso Canyon

10 Mar

In his State of the State, Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed to climate driven wildfires and the necessity of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. It is the largest source of state emissions. During his evening March 9 address, Newsom highlighted his executive order banning the sale of gasoline powered cars and passenger […]

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