California Energy Markets
There are 17 current initiatives and efforts underway to avoid rolling blackouts this summer that were reported to the state Legislature April 7 by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission and the California Independent System Operator. Included in the thousands of megawatts of new procurement are natural gas and diesel generation, illustrating the urgency of the state’s needs, as well as demand response, geothermal, battery energy storage and other resources.
Much of the activity is centered around the CPUC, which in late 2020 opened a rulemaking to establish policies and rules to ensure reliable electric service in California in the event of an extreme weather event this year [R20-11-003]. In a Feb. 11 decision under that proceeding, the CPUC directed the state’s three largest investor-owned utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric—to seek contracts for additional supply-side capacity [D21-02-028]. The IOUs filed advice letters seeking approval of approximately 564 MW by summer, and the CPUC approved those contracts on March 18.