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How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

CPUC Speeds Up Effort to Bring More Power Online

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission vowed Oct. 8 to accelerate its usual process in order to make more energy resources available by next summer. It also promised to modernize planning to reflect extreme heat, particularly as solar and wind supplies decrease with the setting sun.  The commitment was made two days after the California Independent […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

The Buzz

18 Sep

Groundbreaking action by federal regulators requires grid operators to open their doors to aggregated power from energy storage, solar rooftops, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. CAISO is ahead of the regional transmission operator pack, but the new rule is expected to ease the way for more clean distributed resources into its grid. The Federal Energy […]

Why Did Two California Power Plants Go Offline When Needed?

15 Sep

Anticipation surrounds a multi-agency analysis of which power plants unexpectedly went offline and what failures may have precipitated the call for rolling power outages in California mid-August. Now the release of that analysis is delayed until October rather than later this month.  The California Independent System Operator, California Public Utilities Commission and California Energy Commission, […]

Juice: The Road from Coal to Green Hydrogen

28 Jul

Back in 2006, the California legislature passed a bill limiting imports of electricity from coal-fired power plants in other states, as well as from new and upgraded in-state natural gas facilities. SB 1368 by former Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland) was groundbreaking, requiring utility supply contracts to not exceed a greenhouse gas emissions cap. It sent […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]

Sacramento Makes Bold Move to 100% Clean Power by 2030

20 Jul

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board voted unanimously the evening of July 16 for an extremely aggressive carbon neutral power target: 100% in just ten years. Previously the utility had aimed for 2040. California’s all out carbon neutral electricity mandate is set for 2045. “The threat of climate change is too great for anything short […]

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 […]

Humboldt Towns Protected Against Shutoffs, Locals Say the Change is Overdue

16 Jun

When power is deliberately shut off to avoid fires amid high wind in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 20 cities along the North Coast won’t have to worry. That is because PG&E reconfigured its 163 MW natural gas fired power plant in Humboldt County so it can disconnect from the grid and continue supplying the […]

Hard Times for Independent Generators

12 May

Updated May 13 The six merchant generators with operations in California saw their net income fall, some slightly, others significantly. All have felt the impact of the pandemic and resulting drop in commercial and industrial power demand. But the companies have largely been able to keep their construction projects on track. Calpine: Earnings declined for […]

The Number of Energy Bills Drop During Legislative Limbo

30 Apr

The longer state legislators remain away from Sacramento, the smaller the list of energy bills expected to be taken up when they return to the state capital. The stack of measures has diminished to roughly a dozen. The Assembly is scheduled to return May 4. The Utilities and Commerce Committee is set to meet May […]

JUICE: Major Forces

31 Mar

The COVID-19 contagion is putting center stage provisions in power purchase agreements that often sit in the wings: those governing the responsibilities and liabilities of the contracting parties, and the timing of their obligations, when an unforeseen disaster or Act of God hits. These “force majeure” clauses, which may include pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and war, […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

Generator Earnings Largely Greener Dollar & Power Wise

2 Mar

Merchant generators in California saw mostly improved annual and quarterly earnings in the season’s reports, with the exception of AES. Both its annual and quarterly earnings fell. Some of the firms increased their renewable portfolios and touted their energy storage. Nearly all of the companies committed to reducing emissions. AES: This Virginia-based generator with operations […]

The Buzz

24 Jan

FERC member Bernard McNamee bids adieu to the agency. Whether to allow coastal power plants that use huge quantities of water to cool down is still at issue. Center stage are proposed extensions of the legal deadlines, set in 2010, for four plants along the Southern California coast. Under an agreement between Pacific Gas & […]

So Cal Power Plants Slated to Stay Online Up to Three More Years

24 Jan

The contentious issue of keeping a handful of aging power plants along the Southern California coast running beyond their legal deadline was debated at a Jan. 23 meeting of the Statewide Advisory Committee on Once Through Cooling. The grid operator, the California Public Utilities Commission and the owner of the plants want to keep the […]

Shorts

22 Jan

How wildfire impacts the environment and energy infrastructure is the subject of a Jan. 28 hearing planned by House Energy and Commerce Committee. The chair, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), highlighted how California, in particularly, has been hammered by several big wildfires. He called for “a robust response” from the federal government, including help to ensure […]

Edison to Reap Nearly $5B for 2020 Energy Costs

16 Jan

State energy regulators Jan. 16 unanimously approved Southern California Edison collecting $4.7 billion in energy and greenhouse gas emission projected costs this year from current and former ratepayers. Edison’s 2020 electric resource procurement forecast authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission includes $3.72 billion in power costs. Edison stated that the generation it owns and […]

Grid Operator’s So CA Natural Gas Curbs Win Approval

6 Jan

Federal energy regulators made permanent natural gas constraints the California Independent System Operator imposed temporarily on Southern California power plants. This is a “just and reasonable approach” to “ensure CAISO continues to have the tools necessary to address risks associated with the potential impacts of the continued limited operability of Aliso Canyon on the reliability […]

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