News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
The Grid
Nation's Largest Battery Storage Project Charges Forward in Kern County

Nation's Largest Battery Storage Project Charges Forward in Kern County

The Grid: The largest battery-based grid power storage system in North America just went online in Kern County.
Group Urges Public Comment on Desert Transmission Line

Group Urges Public Comment on Desert Transmission Line

The Grid: A group of concerned residents of the Mojave Desert is urging the public to make their feelings known about a controversial proposed transmission line that would run across 63 miles of the central Mojave Desert.
New U.S. Power Plants Entirely Renewable in July

New U.S. Power Plants Entirely Renewable in July

The Grid: Every single U.S. electrical power plant that came online in July was renewable, according to the federal agency that regulates the nation's power grids.
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Renewable Energy Expert: We Don't Need Power Storage, Just Dance Lessons

Renewable Energy Expert: We Don't Need Power Storage, Just Dance Lessons

The Grid: The world's foremost renewable energy wonk says society can be kept fully powered entirely on renewables, using minimal power storage. There will be no technological revolutions required, he says; just a bit of choreography.
Feds Asked to Rethink Energy Project Near Joshua Tree National Park

Feds Asked to Rethink Energy Project Near Joshua Tree National Park

The Grid: A desert protection group said in a formal legal request filed Monday that the project violates several federal laws and should be reconsidered.
Solar's 'Threat' to Utilities Prompts Financial Rating Downgrade

Solar's 'Threat' to Utilities Prompts Financial Rating Downgrade

Utilities: That embarrassing thing where a major financial firm tells you your industrial sector might not survive if we save the planet.
State May Give Break to Residential Energy Storage Systems

State May Give Break to Residential Energy Storage Systems

Technology: If a proposed decision released Tuesday is approved, the California Public Utilities Commission would prevent utilities from levying most extra fees on solar customers who install batteries to store some of the power their panels generate.
Californians Asked to Save Energy Due to Bitter Cold Back East

Californians Asked to Save Energy Due to Bitter Cold Back East

The Grid: The bitter cold that's locked down much of the United States is having an effect even in relatively warm California: demand for natural gas for heating and extra power back east is cutting supplies to Southern California gas-fired power plants.
Power Station Shooting an Act of Domestic Terrorism, Says Former Energy Chairman

Power Station Shooting an Act of Domestic Terrorism, Says Former Energy Chairman

The Grid: An incident of deliberate damage to a California substation may have been more than vandalism, according to a report published Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal.
How California's Renewable Energy Actually Performed in 2013

How California's Renewable Energy Actually Performed in 2013

The Grid: ReWire looked into the state grid's renewable energy numbers for the last 13 months, and what we found surprised us. It might surprise you, too.
Here's a Great Idea: Power Storage With No Cash Upfront

Here's a Great Idea: Power Storage With No Cash Upfront

The Grid: We don't cheerlead much here at ReWire, but we're just really not seeing a downside to this: a Bay Area firm is leasing power storage capacity to businesses at no money down.
California Solar Startups Get New Federal R&D Funding

California Solar Startups Get New Federal R&D Funding

Solar: Seventeen American startups working on innovation in the solar sector have been awarded grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) to further their research -- and eight of those companies are based in California.
California's Power Storage Mandate is Vaguely Written, But That Might be a Good Thing

California's Power Storage Mandate is Vaguely Written, But That Might be a Good Thing

The Grid: A ruling by a state commission requires the state's largest utilities to develop more than 1,300 megawatts of electrical power storage by 2020 but doesn't specify an actual capacity for that storage. That's led some tech-savvy members of the public to raise an eyebrow, but one expert says that's not a huge problem.
California Moves Toward Power Storage Future, But How Much?

California Moves Toward Power Storage Future, But How Much?

The Grid: California's three largest utilities must obtain a significant amount of electrical power storage capacity by 2020, and that capacity must be online by 2024. That's according to the state agency that regulates utilities. But how much?
California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

Government: Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill Monday that would change how the state regulates rooftop solar owners' agreements with utilities, but he encouraged the state agency responsible for crafting the new rules to protect the interests of current solar owners.
725-Mile Transmission Line for Renewable Energy Could Hatch Harm to Eagles

725-Mile Transmission Line for Renewable Energy Could Hatch Harm to Eagles

Commentary: A major transmission project now being considered by the BLM and other agencies could bring 3,000 megawatts of power from Wyoming to cities in California, Nevada, and Arizona, removing an obstacle to much greater expansion of wind turbines in Wyoming's eagle habitat.
Grid Storage Cost-Effective for Solar, Not So Much for Wind

Grid Storage Cost-Effective for Solar, Not So Much for Wind

The Grid: On a cost-effectiveness basis alone, electrical power storage may make a lot more sense for solar energy than it does for wind.
Controversial Rooftop Solar Bill Passes State Senate

Controversial Rooftop Solar Bill Passes State Senate

The Grid: A bill to revamp the state's laws regulating how utilities treat rooftop solar that had been a target of pointed criticism by pro-solar groups passed a voice vote on the Senate Floor Monday with amendments that have some solar advocates singing cautious praise.
State May Require Utilities Develop Power Storage

State May Require Utilities Develop Power Storage

The Grid: A draft of a policy would require the state's three largest utilities to start acquiring power storage capacity, with a target of more than 1,300 megawatts of storage capacity by 2020.
Protesters Visit SoCal Edison Headquarters Over Solar Battle

Protesters Visit SoCal Edison Headquarters Over Solar Battle

Commentary: If a recent cease and desist letter that Southern California Edison (SCE) sent to rooftop solar activists was intended to make them go away, it seems to be having the opposite effect. Which could be a metaphor for utilities and rooftop solar itself, when you get right down to it.
Is SoCal Edison Attacking Home Power Solar Energy Storage?

Is SoCal Edison Attacking Home Power Solar Energy Storage?

Commentary: Homeowners who have a little bit of extra cash when they install solar panels are often encouraged to add battery storage to their home system. But a Southern California utility just delivered some upsetting news to owners of those storage systems.
CA Signs Off On Controversial Project Next to Joshua Tree Nat'l Park

CA Signs Off On Controversial Project Next to Joshua Tree Nat'l Park

The Grid: A giant energy project that would turn an abandoned open pit mine near Joshua Tree National Park into two hydroelectric storage reservoirs got a thumbs-up from the state's main water quality agency this week.
Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

The Grid: A ruling by a Midwest federal court may force California to buy renewable energy from out of state whether it wants to or not.
Expert: Southern California Just Fine Without Nuclear Power Plant

Expert: Southern California Just Fine Without Nuclear Power Plant

The Grid: An expert on California's grid says the concern of rolling blackouts is overblown.
California's Renewable Restrictions May Slow Arizona Solar Plant

California's Renewable Restrictions May Slow Arizona Solar Plant

Concentrating Solar: The Interior Department approved three new renewable energy projects on public lands in Arizona and Nevada on Monday. But one of those plants probably won't be built until the developer finds a California utility to buy the power, and that might not be easy.
California Breaks 3 New Renewable Energy Records

California Breaks 3 New Renewable Energy Records

Wind: Between May 23 and 26, California broke three records for renewable energy feeding into the grid: two for solar, and one for wind.
Can Electricity Be Stored Safely and Effectively? Firm Gets Big Money for Big Goal

Can Electricity Be Stored Safely and Effectively? Firm Gets Big Money for Big Goal

Technology: An East Coast firm has announced it's raised $15 million to develop affordable, scalable power storage for the grid using zinc-air battery technology.
'Marginally' Higher Risk of Outages in SoCal This Summer

'Marginally' Higher Risk of Outages in SoCal This Summer

The Grid: California's grid operator says Southern California should have enough power if San Onofre doesn't start back up this summer, but we've all got to be ready to conserve energy if things get tight.
Expert: 'Power Shortage' Threat Overblown in Southern California

Expert: 'Power Shortage' Threat Overblown in Southern California

The Grid: Despite reports in the press that the continuing outage of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant will cause "Enron-style" power shortages throughout Southern California this sumer, one expert on the electrical grid says such fears are exaggerated.
Bay Area Flex Alert Called After Substation Hit by Bullets

Bay Area Flex Alert Called After Substation Hit by Bullets

The Grid: Just another reminder of how fragile our current power distribution system really is, vulnerable to acts of both Nature and bored vandals with guns.
Another Study Suggests Power Storage Not All That

Another Study Suggests Power Storage Not All That

The Grid: We can run our grid on renewable power effectively, say the authors of a study released this month, without massive storage capacity. The key is building out about three times as much renewable generating capacity as the grid needs to meet peak demand.
Hydroelectric Storage Project Near Joshua Tree Moves Forward

Hydroelectric Storage Project Near Joshua Tree Moves Forward

The Grid: The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Project would help make energy derived from renewable sources available more reliably, but at what cost?
Study: Power Storage Not as Crucial as Once Thought

Study: Power Storage Not as Crucial as Once Thought

The Grid: A new study indicates that power storage may only become crucial as the grid approaches 4/5 renewable.
5 New Transmission Projects Approved in State

5 New Transmission Projects Approved in State

The Grid: The California Independent System Operator (CaISO), which manages the majority of the state's power grid, has approved five new transmission projects that the agency says are crucial to the state's renewable energy future.
Renewables Easier to Manage Than Expected for Grid Operators

Renewables Easier to Manage Than Expected for Grid Operators

Wind: Even a resource as unpredictable as wind power -- which can fluctuate statewide in an hour or two -- isn't that hard to incorporate into a grid the size of California's.
California Grid Operator Offers New Mobile App

California Grid Operator Offers New Mobile App

The Grid: A new smartphone app allows you to track California's power grid and renewables in real time.
A New California Solar Record... In February

A New California Solar Record... In February

Solar: It looks as though California has broken another solar power record, and it's done so in one of the least-sunny times of year possible.
A Power Grid Run Like the Internet?

A Power Grid Run Like the Internet?

The Grid: The grid we use to move electrical power is big and complex, and it takes a huge amount of effort and intelligence to manage. But the grid itself is inflexible, vulnerable to disruption, and fragile. And an increasing number of companies are working to change that.
Belgium May Build Hole In The Ocean To Store Energy

Belgium May Build Hole In The Ocean To Store Energy

Technology: It's an interesting idea, with obvious potential applications in California.
UC San Diego's Microgrid Gets Boost from State

UC San Diego's Microgrid Gets Boost from State

The Grid: The California Energy Commission is plowing $1.8 million into UCSD's microgrid to help the University develop it as a model for the rest of the state.
It's Official: California Grid Operator Expands Into Nevada

It's Official: California Grid Operator Expands Into Nevada

The Grid: The plan's been in the works for more than a year, but the entity that operates California's largest electrical power grid has made the official announcement: it's now managing the grid in much of southwestern Nevada as well.
Renewable Energy Could Supply 99 Percent of U.S., Study Finds

Renewable Energy Could Supply 99 Percent of U.S., Study Finds

The Grid: Researchers find that a very large power grid could conceivably be run almost entirely on renewable energy, with fossil fuel backup for about a tenth of a percent of the power consumed in total.
Are Smart Meters A Waste of Money?

Are Smart Meters A Waste of Money?

The Grid: A report released last week says smart meters, paid for in large part with Stimulus funding, have served mainly to kill American jobs and increase utility company profits.
State Grid Operator Proposes Rule Change To Curb Fraud

State Grid Operator Proposes Rule Change To Curb Fraud

The Grid: California's power grid operator tries to crack down on a deceptively simple way of gaming the market.
British Bank Slammed for Allegedly Gaming California Power Market

British Bank Slammed for Allegedly Gaming California Power Market

The Grid: FERC has given British bank Barclays 30 days to argue why it shouldn't pay $470 million in damages and fines over the company's alleged gaming of the California electrical power market.
What California's Power Grid Can Learn From Cell Service During Hurricane Sandy

What California's Power Grid Can Learn From Cell Service During Hurricane Sandy

The Grid: In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a lesson for Californians seeking to make our power grid more resilient.

California Solar Beats Wind For Several Days This Autumn

The Grid: On a few calm days this fall, solar has actually outpaced wind in California energy production.
Pressure Mounts for California to Import Renewable Energy

Pressure Mounts for California to Import Renewable Energy

Trade: Nevada renewables companies complain that without exports to California, their businesses will falter
Imperial County Transmission Project OK'd for 'Area of Critical Environmental Concern'

Imperial County Transmission Project OK'd for 'Area of Critical Environmental Concern'

The Grid: The Interior Department approves a transmission line across an Area of Critical Environmental Concern.
J.P. Morgan In Hot Seat Over Grid Gaming Allegations

J.P. Morgan In Hot Seat Over Grid Gaming Allegations

The Grid: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may suspend JPMorgan's rights to participate in the electrical power business unless the company can prove it didn't game the California grid.