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The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

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 […]

Shorts

14 Jul

More than one third of California’s electricity last year was fueled by solar, wind and other qualifying renewables under the state’s clean energy mandate. According to the California Energy Commission, 36% of retail electric sales were supplied by renewable resources, exceeding the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard’s 2020 mandate. “As we move to 100% clean electricity […]

NREL Study Calls for Safe Solar Panel Disposal & Critical Material Recovery

13 Jul

We’re not far into the age of mega solar, but discarded modules are beginning to stack up, and they contain both rare and toxic materials. By 2050, there could be 80 million metric tons of discarded solar panels, according to a new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The average life of a PV […]

Tribal Focus in Latest $30+M Round of CEC Storage Combination Grants

8 Jul

The California Energy Commission continued to award grants to innovative energy storage projects and microgrids, including two novels ones that will use discarded electric vehicle batteries to store solar power. Awards unanimously approved this week, totaling more than $31 million, aim to help ensure California slashes carbon emissions and attains carbon neutrality within 15 years. […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

Shorts

12 May

Updated March 13 The colorful S. David Freeman, who headed the state’s largest public municipal power agencies, died at 94 years of age. Freeman also was head of the short-lived California Power Authority created during the 2000-01 energy crisis by former Gov. Gray Davis. Freeman helped the state sign $42 billion in overpriced, long-term power […]

Edison Inks 770MW of New Energy Storage Deals

5 May

Southern California Edison signed seven long-term contracts for big battery projects, five co-located at utility-scale solar plants. The storage capacity is to range from 230 MW to 50 MW, with up to four hours of output. All the deals entail lithium ion batteries that are set to come online in August 2021. The five battery […]

Stringent City Building Codes Okayed by Energy Commission

9 Apr

At is first-ever remote hearing in the 45-year history, the California Energy Commission took further steps to curb the use of natural gas in buildings. The five commissioners April 7 approved seven city building ordinances reducing or eliminating natural gas use, increasing renewable use and/or energy savings in new and remodeled construction. The ordinances exceed […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

CEC Backs Solar for All New Homes

9 May

Virtually all new homes built in California beginning in 2020 will have to be outfitted with solar panels and be super efficient under energy efficiency standards for new residential construction approved unanimously by the California Energy Commission May 9. “The marketplace is ready,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who oversaw development of the new building standards. […]