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New Grid Operator Chief Comes from Bonneville Power

6 Aug

The California Independent System Operator chose the current head of the Bonneville Power Administration as its new chief. Elliot Mainzer is BPA’s chief executive officer and president, who will replace CAISO’s outgoing Steve Berberich Sept. 30, the grid operator announced Aug. 6. Mainzer, originally from San Francisco, has been BPA’s administrator for the last seven […]

Bills on Lithium Extraction, EV Charging, Biomethane Advance

4 Aug

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee met this week and passed four energy bills. The committee had halted reconvening mid-July after one lawmaker and some staff were found to be infected with Covid-19. The quartet of measures approved Aug. 3 promote electric vehicle chargers and school efficiency, lithium recovery in the Imperial Valley, turning […]

News Roundup: CPUC to Oppose Payday for Transmission Owners

3 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 State energy regulators are expected to soon ratify their staff’s formal opposition to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s March plan that would give transmission owners handsome payoffs for cybersecurity upgrades. The awards would come even if the businesses were already making the investments without the incentives. FERC proposes the changes to benefit […]

Shorts

29 Jul

PG&E and Tesla began construction on a 182.5 MW battery project at Moss Landing in Monterey County, the utility announced July 29. The joint lithium ion storage project is expected to be online in the middle of next year. “Battery energy storage plays an integral role in enhancing overall electric grid efficiency and reliability, integrating […]

The Buzz

23 Jul

Energy storage is surging in California, with much of it being built next to solar plants. The grid operator board approves giving these complimentary co-located projects a market boost so they can fill the gap in peak supplies over the next three years. After many years, dozens of stakeholders reached an agreement on removing PacifiCorp’s […]

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 […]

Warren Buffett Bids to Replace SDG&E

21 Jul

San Diego will take formal bids for alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric as its power supplier because of the upcoming expiration of the utility’s franchise agreement with the city. Billionaire Warren Buffet will bid into the city’s solicitation. SDG&E’s 50-year franchise agreement, which allows use of San Diego’s rights-of-way for delivery of electricity […]

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

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important time for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. At the federal level, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals July 10 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s […]

CAISO Seeks to Optimize Combined Solar-Storage Production

7 Jul

The grid operator board will vote later this month on a proposed change that would add flexibility in the amount of megawatts the California Independent System Operator can accept into its real-time market from co-located solar and storage facilities, and other mixed fuel projects.  The rule change, expected to go into effect in the fall, […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]

CAISO Chief Laments Lack of Regional Market & Supply Imbalance

15 Jun

Falling sun and wind resources occurring as demand rises, particularly in the evenings, has created a worsening supply gap. It grew 50% this year, California Independent System Operator Chief Executive Officer and President Steve Berberich said. This gap or ramp is now 15,000 MW over a three-hour stretch.  It is expected to reach 20,000 MW. […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Guest Juice: Blockchain for Bitcoin and DER

18 May

by Wayne Hicks A common vision for the future of California and the nation’s energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. Sounds great in theory. But how can […]

Pandemic Pounds CA Green Energy Jobs

13 May

The energy efficiency, renewables, electric cars, energy storage and clean fuels industries in the U.S. have gotten hammered by the pandemic, with those in California suffering the biggest blow, according to a report released May 13. There were 105,443 clean energy jobs lost in March and April in the Golden State, with 77,869 of those […]

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 Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

Report: Mandates Fuel Cheaper Cleaner Grid

4 May

Years of mandates under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard continue to lower the cost of non-fossil fueled electricity. The RPS requires that 44% of utility, community energy and other electricity supplier resources come from solar, wind, geothermal or other eligible resources by 2024, rising to 52% in 2027 and 60% in 2030. “The average price of […]