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The Buzz

1 Apr

Changes wrought by the pandemic upend the legislative session, once again. After little action on the committee hearing front for weeks, bill hearings are getting back on track. See the list of bills being taken up in the Assembly and Senate energy committees in this week’s Juice column. California Community Choice continues to grow, as […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CPUC Pitches Additional 7,500 MW Mid-Decade

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal calls for 7,500 MW of new power in California, with less than one-third of that carbon free. The recalculation of needed resources covering 2024-26 is intended to address demand for electricity on the hottest days.  The proposal by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch seeks to address a resource gap […]

Roundup: East Bay to Offset Peak Load w/ Negawatts Reaped Elsewhere

4 Mar

East Bay Community Energy signed a deal with home energy management company OhmConnect to apply 25 MW in aggregated energy reductions to EBCE’s peak load during evening hours as solar power diminishes. It’s a novel demand response arrangement. The transaction does not sign up EBCE customer into the ‘negawatt’ program but instead taps into the […]

Will Controversial Aliso Canyon Gas Field Get a New Lease on Life?

24 Feb

Despite the state’s legal commitment to decarbonize the energy sector, staff at the California Public Utilities Commission have concluded the large Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Los Angeles needs to remain open. There has been a forceful effort to close the field since a months-long eruption of methane gas from a failed well […]

The Buzz

18 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power. Soaring demand in Texas, frozen power plants, and massive […]

FERC Chair: Texas Outages a “Humanitarian Crisis,” Agency Opens Door to Enviro Justice

18 Feb

The massive days-long power outage caused by frigid weather across Texas and the Midwest, resulting in numerous deaths, is a “humanitarian crisis,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick declared. He and his fellow commissioner urged against pointing fingers at any one energy resource causing the power shortages, whether gas plants or wind turbines, at […]

The Buzz

11 Feb

The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options. Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities […]

More Fossil Power to Meet Summer 2021 Peak Demand Expected

11 Feb

In anticipation of high summer demand, including when the sun sets, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered investor-owned utilities to line up more supply resources, expected largely to be gas-fired power. That runs counter to the state mandate to ramp down fossil-fueled electricity to zero. “Customers deserve a reliable grid,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

State Electricity Demand Projected to Remain Flat

26 Jan

In its latest forecast for the coming decade, the California Energy Commission projects statewide demand won’t return to 2019 levels before 2023. The combination of layoffs and work from home have reduced commercial and industrial electrical load. That lower demand is expected to endure even accounting for projected increases in zero emission vehicles, which will […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

CPUC Orders Utilities to Line Up More Resources for Peak Summer Demand

11 Jan

To avoid rolling outages due to electricity supply shortages, state officials direct the three investor-owned utilities to line up additional resources by mid-February. The aim is to ensure peak demand and demand as the sun sets, known as net peak, are met this summer.   Under a Jan. 8 proposed decision by an administrative law […]

Edison Reimagines California’s Distribution System

5 Jan

Distributed energy’s explosive growth makes integrating it in a way that supports the power system critical, according to a new white paper from Southern California Edison. The paper forecasts significant growth of distributed energy resources (DER) in California and “we want to have the system technologies to see and manage their impacts,” SCE VP of Asset […]

FERC Votes 2-1 Against Interfering in CAISO Market

17 Dec

The California grid operator dodged a bullet Dec. 17 when federal regulators voted down an order that would have required the California Independent System Operator to prove its mid-August outages were not caused by an unreasonable market tariff. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Rich Glick said FERC has already exacerbated problems in three eastern regional […]

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 […]

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