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SMUD Plans to Beat State Net Zero Carbon Goal by 15 Years

14 Jul

California has mandated its state power providers reach 60% renewables by 2030, but the Sacramento Municipal Utility District plans to supply 100% clean energy by the start of the next decade. That puts it ahead of virtually all other utilities, according to SMUD’s March 2021 Zero Carbon report. Its plan for net zero power supply emissions […]

The Buzz

8 Jul

The push to building electrification to slash greenhouse gas emissions is raising concerns that the shrinking base of gas customers will be unfairly burdened with higher utility bills. The issue is the focus of a new U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business paper. Some question why gas utilities aren’t treated like telecom companies, many of […]

100 MW Battery Project Fills Oxnard Gas Project Void

7 Jul

A 100 MW battery project opened in place of NRG’s proposed 262 MW natural gas-fueled Puente power project near Oxnard in Ventura County. The 400 MWh storage project, which will supply power for up to four hours, is under a 20-year contract with Southern California Edison. It is the second largest battery project in California. […]

The Buzz

24 Jun

State utility regulators work through a packed agenda, with approval of Pacific Gas & Electric’s $1.2 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover wildfire costs getting a silent okay, being folded into the California Public Utilities Commission’s consent agenda. Getting public attention at this week’s CPUC meeting are its unanimous approval of an unprecedented mandate for 11,5000 […]

Calls to Conserve Electricity Thursday-Friday

17 Jun

The grid operator called on Californians to reduce their use of air conditioning and appliances Thursday and Friday during the first intense western-wide heat wave of the year. The California Independent System Operator June 17 called for conservation from 5 PM-10 PM on Thursday and 6 PM-9 PM on Friday to keep blackouts at bay. […]

State Utility Regulators Call For 11.5 GW of New Resources by 2026

25 May

Two competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would require utilities, community energy and other provider investments in a combined 11,500 megawatts to come online between 2023 and 2026 to ensure a solid and far less polluting grid. About one tenth would come from fossil-fueled power. One proposal, by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch, would okay […]

JUICE: In Recall Election, Perception Matters, Will Reality Intercede?

7 Apr

Does a March report showing Los Angeles can achieve virtually 100% renewable energy as early as 2035 signal Gov. Gavin Newsom and his energy czars are ceding their leadership on a carbon-free economy? And would that perception dissuade environmental voters from supporting the governor in the upcoming recall election? Recent state decisions to extend the […]

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 […]

Committee Votes to Keep Redondo Beach Plant Online Another Two Years

29 Mar

Over strong community objections, a multi-state agency advisory board recommended March 26 postponing once again the closing of the nearly 70-year-old coastal Redondo Beach power plant in Southern California. This time until the end of 2023. The 834 megawatts from the AES coastal natural gas units, which use seawater to cool spinning turbines, are needed […]

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 […]

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 […]

Independent Generator Earnings Suffer

9 Mar

All of the generator’s earnings took a hit during the pandemic last year, though those operating in California remained profitable. AES: This global power generator posted 2020 earnings of $46 million, or 7 cents a share, compared to a net of $303 million in 2019, or 46 cents per share. Fourth quarter earnings were far […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

News Roundup: CAISO Calls for Conservation, PG&E Reaches 10M Securities Settlement

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 In a reversal of high heat and demand causing rolling blackouts in California, Texas suffered far larger and longer blackouts this week because of unusually icy conditions. More than 4 million customers lost power because thermal power plants were unable to operate. Wind turbines also froze. “Extreme weather conditions caused many generating […]

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 […]

The Buzz

4 Feb

State regulatory staff propose further crimping demand response, much to the dismay of advocates of these behind-the-meter resources. Making matters worse for them is the disparity in treatment between DR and fossil power plants. The City of San Diego plans to issue a second request for bids for electricity and gas services because the long-time […]

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