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CAISO Executive Redo Launched

10 Nov

The new chief of the California Independent System Operator, Elliot Mainzer, announced an executive reorganization Nov. 6. It switches around managers in market policy, operations, planning and technology departments with the aim of broadening their understanding of how the grid works as it moves towards decarbonization.  “Internal mobility brings new thinking, new blood and new […]

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 […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

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. […]

The Buzz

15 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission says goodbye to President Mike Picker. The five commissioners also approve new decade-long energy efficiency targets and SDG&E’s $100 million heavy-duty vehicle electrification program. The California Independent System Operator gets a CEC pat on the back for being the new Reliability Coordinator. The Energy Commission also adopts impressive new rules […]

JUICE: Sailing to Grid Regionalization

11 Jun

The announcement by California’s transmission operator that it will become the regional coordinator, not only in its territory, but across big parts of the western grid beginning July 1 generated few headlines. However, the California Independent System Operator becoming the new high wires reliability cop on the beat from Northern Mexico to Canada is a […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid

2 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy PART 1 Editor’s Note: In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lorenzo Kristov and Mark Ferron, former CAISO board member, advocated for an “open access” distribution system and indicated that local planning increasingly is “where […]

CAISO Chief Laments Grid Regionalization Bill Failure

6 Sep

The grid operator’s chief executive officer went off script in his report to board this week to lambaste those who opposed AB 813. The bill would have authorized the California Independent System Operator to create a multi-state grid and wholesale power market in the West. “Those who opposed this are on the wrong side of […]

Clashing Views on Power Industry Emissions

3 Jul

A legislative hearing on tracking carbon from electrons delivered to Californians quickly turned into a debate about grid regionalization and the impact of community choice aggregators and direct access providers in the state Capitol on July 2. Liane Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission member, said her agency has targeted a reduction of 42 million tons […]

Juice: Centralizing to Decentralize

2 Jul

As community choice aggregation, distributed generation, and interest by companies in making or purchasing their own power rise, California energy officials appear ready to change the state’s electricity market under the banner of “customer choice.” It’s uncertain what the California Public Utilities Commission will recommend in its final analysis outlining how customer choice is changing […]

Juice: Parsing AB 813

19 Jun

Suddenly, all eyes are turned toward the likely prospect California lawmakers will soon enable a regionalized western power grid and wholesale market. Regionalization was on the table a few years ago, but progress largely faltered on concerns it would enable more coal power to flow into California, confounding the state’s march to decarbonize its economy. […]

Undercurrents: Grid Regionalization Legislation Rises

21 Feb

Grid regionalization legislation appears to be back on the table, with draft language being circulated in Sacramento by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). Holden amended a bill late in last year’s legislative session to include provisions to allow the California Independent System Operator to move forward with a regionalized western grid […]

CAISO To Replace Peak Reliability as Reliability Coordinator

3 Jan

The California grid operator plans to begin providing reliability coordination services in its territory and potentially to other interested balancing authorities in the western U.S. beginning in late 2019. The California Independent System Operator announced its plan Jan. 2 in response to the expected departure of Mountain West Transmission Group from Peak Reliability and the […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

The Buzz

5 Oct

A top legislative staffer gives an insider’s look at the fallout from the governor’s ill-fated effort to push through a bill to create an integrated western grid in the waning days of the legislative session. Electric transportation advocates flock to a meeting this week on the California Air Resources Board’s plan to give away $1.5 […]

JUICE: Post Mortem

19 Sep

The most significant state energy bills of the year stopped breathing the final week of this legislative session. Legislation to set a 100 percent carbon free-power mandate for California by 2045, with the last 40 percent from large hydro, failed to come up for a vote before the wee hours of Sept. 16, the session’s […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

Bill Seeks to Improve Carbon Accounting for Unspecified Power

15 Mar

Legislation requiring the California Air Resources Board to better estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-powered electricity sent into California as unspecified resources passed its first committee hearing. The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee March 15 passed on an 8-5 vote AB 79 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County). The bill seeks to establish improved […]

Feds Okay Major WY Transmission & Wind Projects Aimed for CA

19 Jan

Two Interior Department agencies gave the go-ahead for construction of the first phase of the largest wind energy project in North America this week. A few days earlier, another federal agency essentially signed off on a more than a 700-mile long transmission line running from the huge wind farm in south central Wyoming to southern […]

$10 B in New Western Transmission Would Make Way for 37% Wind in U.S.

11 Jan

Wind energy could provide more than 35 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2050 with the development of four specific transmission expansions estimated to cost $10.1 billion, according to a new report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “Absent significant upgrades to the western transmission network, we find that a substantial amount of renewable energy […]

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