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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 […]

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 […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

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 […]

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 […]

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