CAISO Symposium Provides Insight on Direction of Utilities

More than 850 attended this year’s California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Symposium. While most of the conference focused on regional issues and day-ahead scheduling, the opening panel consisted of panelists representing western state utilities.

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Newsom Signs Climate Package

As we had previously reported and expected Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed his climate package of bills which he proposed late in the legislative session, and a number of other climate bills that had been part of our tracking list this session.  The new laws will now require the state to become carbon-neutral by 2045, produce 90% of its electricity from clean sources by 2035, create safety zones around oil wells near homes, and draft rules to fast-track permitting of technology that aim to remove carbon from the air. 

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SACCWIS Recommends Extending Retirement Dates for OTC Facilities – Again

The Statewide Advisory Committee on Cooling Water Intake Structures (SACCWIS), which is composed of the CAISO, CCEC, and CPUC – filed a draft report to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) this week (9/20) recommending that the OTC facilities slated for retirement remain on-line for an additional 3 and 5 years.

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California Sets Power Usage Record as Historic Heatwave Wanes

California faced one of the most prolonged heatwaves in its history.  All-time record temperatures up and down the state made it difficult for Californians to stay cool and the power to stay on.  The result of the oppressive heat led to Governor Gavin Newsom calling for an emergency proclamation to address the ten-day power crisis.  The proclamation loosened some environmental rules to ensure that the power stayed on and offered more benefits for those entities who chose to reduce energy usage.

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California Bans the Sale of New Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles Beginning in 2035

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted this week to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks by 2035, a first-in-the-nation mandate the state’s leaders hope will jolt the automotive industry and truly make electric vehicles mainstream.

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Governor Newsom Enjoys Environmental Victories on Last Day of Session – Also Wins on Diablo

On the final day of the legislative session, Governor Gavin Newsom scored major victories on some of his “5 point climate plan,” including the “lithium valley,” and Diablo.  As for what kind of “horse trading” or favors were afforded for the votes – those will eventually be revealed. 

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Legislature Approves New Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development

California is notorious for being in flames in what seems like an endless wildfire season. Factors including climate change and an increasing population in locations with flammable materials—like fuel and dry brush—all contribute to wildfires and the unpredictable damages they cause.

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Will California’s power grid withstand heatwaves this summer?

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) projects electricity supply for summer 2021 to be better than last year. Although a series of policy changes and redesigns of ISO’s system has occurred, along with improved communications and coordination protocols, the power grid is still prone to be overstressed during extreme heat waves—according to the ISO’s summer outlook released this month.

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Grants awarded to protect vulnerable communities from PSPS

The State of California is distributing $50 million in Community Power Resiliency grants aimed to protect local and vulnerable communities from the effects of utility-initiated power shutoffs. The grants will be distributed through the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

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After California’s Costly Firestorms, A Wildfire Innovation Office Emerges

California’s 2020 wildfire season broke records. The state reported more than 9,600 wildfires that burned nearly 4.4 million acres, killed 31 people, destroyed 10,000-plus structures, and left Californians with more than $12 billion in damages. The increasing devastation, combined with last year’s losses, has spurred lawmakers to consider a new Office of Wildfire Technology Research and Development for advanced fire prevention and suppression.

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Governor announces key energy agency appointments

Gov. Newsom made several appointments to key energy agencies this week.  Darcie Houck to the CPUC, Sivia Gunda to the California Energy Commission, and Mary Leslie and Jan Schiori to the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Board. Details of the announcement included: Darcie Houck, 51, of Davis, has been appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission. Houck has served as Chief Counsel for the California Energy Commission since 2019. She was an Administrative Law Judge at the California Public Utilities Commission from 2016 to 2019, a Partner at Fredericks Peebles & Morgan from 2005 to 2016 and Staff Counsel and [...]

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Will governor’s $1.5 billion zero-emission vehicle plan lose steam?

As part of his $227 billion 2021-22 budget, Gov. Newsom proposed nearly $1.5 billion to support his executive order to make all new vehicles zero-emission by 2035, but the plan faced criticism at its first budget hearing, with Republicans and Democrats saying not so fast.

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California approves $115 million for hydrogen fueling stations

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a plan on December 9 that will invest up to $115 million to increase the number of fueling stations in California that support hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Up to 111 new hydrogen fueling stations will be built in the state by 2027 under the new plan.

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Appliance energy standards targeted in latest lawsuit against feds

A lawsuit was filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with a coalition of 15 attorney generals and New York City, on November 9 to challenge the Department of Energy’s (DoE) “failure to review and amend energy standards” for 25 product categories of consumer and industrial products. The product categories include refrigerators, heaters, air conditioners, electric motors, and more. The DoE has violated the Energy Policy and Conservation Act by missing several mandatory deadlines for reviewing and updating the standards, according to the lawsuit. “For the better part of four years, the Trump Administration has utilized a playbook of [...]

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CAISO changes leadership structure

Beginning Monday, November 9, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) will reorganize its executive-level leadership structure with the hope of better management of the state's electricity grid. Under the Chief Operating Officer (COO), the restructuring will bring together several critical functions including market policy, planning, operations, technology, and program management, according to a news release. A new leadership team designed the structure to promote more efficient integration and coordination across these key functions.

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