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CEC Waives Permit for Another Diesel Backup at Data Center

29 Jun

The California Energy Commission exempted yet another very large diesel backup system from its permit certification process, putting the issue in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s court. The Commission also voted to allow two natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California to increase their output to meet peak demand when the heat soars. […]

Energy Bill Winners & Losers

27 May

Among the bills moving ahead in the Legislature are ones backing installations of clean microgrids in fire-prone communities and adding fees to net metered small solar rooftops. The key local community microgrid measure is SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). It would create a grant and technical assistance program at the California Energy Commission […]

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 […]

Bill to Automate Home Solar Permits Passes

27 Apr

Legislation automating building permits for rooftop solar installations and systems paired with energy storage passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee April 26.   Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) said the aim of his SB 617 is to dramatically increase the number of homes in California with rooftop solar, which currently stands […]

Bills Pass that Back Offshore Wind and Home Batteries for Grid Support

22 Apr

This week, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved legislation to launch California’s offshore wind industry and allow home battery projects to help balance the grid during times of spiking temperatures. Passed on an 11-0 vote April 21, AB 525 by Assembly members David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo) requires the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

The Buzz

30 Oct

Two California private utility parents report third quarter earnings, one bearing good news and the other far from rosy. Pacific Gas & Electric gets a post-bankruptcy bounce. Edison International goes the opposite direction. SoCalGas gets slammed for its climate damaging activities, from undermining home electrification to suing the state for its clean trucks rule. Sen. […]

New Energy Providers Join Forces Against Entrenched Agency Rules

29 Oct

Bureaucratic red tape at the California Public Utilities Commission prevented East Bay Community Energy from contracting for clean, behind-the-meter electricity last year that could have provided power or lowered demand during the August heat waves. The resources were designated to help meet East Bay’s 2020 resource adequacy obligations. The community aggregator says it also is […]

Lawmakers Told Grid Imbalances Can Be Solved by Next Summer

13 Oct

The California Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Vice Chair Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) castigated the state’s three energy agencies at a Monday hearing, saying their joint report on rolling outages in August was essentially finger pointing and excuses. The heads of those agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator and California Energy Commission, continued to […]

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 […]

FERC Opening Markets to Distributed Resources Not Cause for Celebration in California Yet

29 Sep

Distributed resources advocates across the country celebrated the 2-1 vote approving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 2222 for opening capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets to aggregated distributed energy. They applauded FERC’s pomise to “usher in the electric grid of the future and promote competition in electric markets.” The celebration may have been premature, especially […]

Northern San Diego County Residents Oppose New Overhead Line

10 Sep

Members of the public expressed strong concern about a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric to modernize and extend a 12-mile 69 kV line through northern San Diego County, leading state regulators to delay a vote for construction that seemed sure to be approved. Several locals, many emotional, said the proposed overhead line running […]

Energy Chair Sounds Alarm Over Skyrocketing Electric Bills

9 Sep

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair warned that increases in California utility bills are becoming untenable. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) pointed to the private utilities’ tab to reduce climate-aggravated wildfires, which gets passed on to customers. “Rates are really getting out of control,” Holden said during a Sept. 9 Power Association of Northern California meeting, […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

Speedy Analysis of Rolling Blackouts Ordered

20 Aug

Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, Independent System Operator and California Energy Commission to immediately determine why they failed to anticipate the mid-August squeeze on electricity resources and the cause of the rolling outages. In a letter sent early this week, the governor also demanded to know how the […]

Less Demand and Cleaner Options Spell Lower 2019 Costs for CAISO

7 Jul

The California Independent System Operator saw a whopping 17% reduction in overall wholesale electricity market costs in 2019 compared to the year before, thanks to energy efficiency, the deployment of small renewables, more hydropower and less natural gas. Total energy costs last year were $8.8 billion, at an average $41 per megawatt-hour, compared to $10.8 […]

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