A struggle in the West over transmission access in California during the blazing heat of summer has landed at the desks of federal regulators, with little time left to settle the debate. At issue is the California ISO's plan to require "high-priority" showings for transmission service during tight summer conditions, which has been met with a flurry of protests at the federal level. The plan involves changes to its wheel-through policies, which it says to are meant to avert crowding out imports needed for resource adequacy when the system gets tight in the summer.

Susan Ackerman has had a hand in shaping regional energy policy for nearly three decades and is one of the most respected voices in the region. She'll retire from her current role at Eugene Water and Electric Board in July. Clearing Up takes a look at her career, and tosses a few last questions at "a true energy policy expert."

Leading energy experts from the Northwest and California will explore the 2021-2022 outlook for regional power markets and systems at the 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference June 17-18. This virtual event, co-presented by CJB Energy Economics and NewsData, is designed to help attendees better understand and be prepared for the coming 18 months. Please join us!

Batteries have become an increasingly common part of new power generation projects, particularly for solar and wind, if interconnection request queues are any guide. While this surge of hybrid project proposals could indicate a paradigm shift in how new resources are handled by balancing authorities, the devil is in the details for determining the value of co-location versus separate locations.

The 2021-2022 outlook for regional power markets and systems is the focus of the 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference coming June 17-18, virtually, co-presented by CJB Energy Economics and NewsData. Leading energy officials from the Northwest and California will share lots of information and insights for attendees. Please join us!

The 5th Annual Pacific Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference June 17-18 will focus on the 2021-2022 outlook for regional markets and power systems, featuring an exceptional group of leading energy-expert speakers from the Northwest and California. Co-presented by NewsData and CJB Energy Economics, this year's online gathering is designed to help attendees better understand key issues and navigate this near-term future.

There's been lots of news lately about the Simpson proposal to take out Snake River dams and end the salmon wars. We take a look at what's next, and what barriers to consensus have been identified at recent forums and conferences.

The 5th Annual Northwest Wholesale Power Markets Conference is set for June 17-18, virtually. Co-presented by NewsData and CJB Energy Economics, this year's online gathering will focus on the 2021-2022 outlook for regional markets and power systems. We invite you to register and join us!

A great deal of new high-voltage transmission infrastructure will need to be constructed for the United States to meet its carbon-reduction goals, and a new plan issued by President Joe Biden's administration this week holds promise for this expansion to take place.

This is Clearing Up No. 2000, representing nearly 39 years of continuous chronicling of the Northwest electric and natural gas sectors. The numbers are impressive, but the main story of this milestone is more about evolution, people and community.

An energy calamity of the sort experienced by Texas in mid-February could occur in the Northwest, but sources and research suggest our region has a number of preventive advantages and tools. This is the third and final column exploring the Texas breakdown and potential lessons and takeaways for the Northwest. Read the first two installments here and here.

The Texas power outages in mid-February have reverberated far beyond the Lone Star State. This second of a three-part series explores ways in which the Texas and Northwest energy systems are distinct, as well as potential concerns and vulnerabilities for the Northwest.

The mid-February power outages in Texas amid bitter cold temperatures wreaked an immense human, financial and institutional toll. This first of a three-part series looks at what happened in the Lone Star State, and begins to explore what if any takeaways this historic and tragic event poses for the Northwest energy system.

The Colstrip ownership group is in arbitration over financing operations of units 3 and 4, in what could be a decisive event for the controversial Montana coal-fired power plant. The four Pacific Northwest utilities are being accused of starving the budgets for the units so that they aren't operational in 2025. "It's time" to decide on the future of the plant.

Smart water heaters are part of the solution to the last remaining hurdle standing in the way of a major expansion of renewable energy: What to do with surplus power when it's windy and sunny and what to do about power shortfalls when it's not. The life-cycle cost of new wind and solar generators have made them competitive with new thermal plants for some time, but integration costs, unique to renewables, pose an economic disadvantage. That is changing as the cost of renewables drop even lower and innovative integration strategies like smart water heaters are poised to kick in.

Energy policy collided with Info Wars as Texas was plunged into darkness by a deep freeze. Fingers were pointed, and rhetorical bombs tossed by supporters of various fuel types, some aimed at California and its rolling blackouts last summer. But the lack of preparation and planning in both cases should be the real focus of analysis and debate.

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) shares with Clearing Up about his ambitious $33.5 billion vision that includes removing the four lower Snake River dams to help salmon and compensation for those dependent on the dams.

President Joe Biden set the stage during his first few days in office set the stage for a national energy policy modeled on California's, but a question remains as to whether this will also lead to the growth of the many energy hiccups and problems facing the Golden State.

Offshore wind development is starting to gain more attention along the West Coast, and with a new clean energy-friendly administration now in control in Washington, D.C., it only seems a matter of time before some ambitious developer looks at the waters off the Pacific Northwest and dreams o…

A new year is a useful time to take stock and look to the past as well as the future. We presented our top-five 2020 stories last week, and here we offer some key regional energy issues/themes we expect to follow in 2021. Although this list is neither exhaustive nor ranked, we hope you find it worthwhile.

In an extraordinary year marked by a pandemic and political upheaval, Northwest utilities rolled with the punches in 2020, and will be starting the new year with the possibility of things improving.

In the spirit of the season, we present our annual energy-themed carols for your holiday enjoyment. We will take a publishing break next week, and our next issue will come to you on Friday, Jan. 8. From all of us at NewsData to all of you, best wishes for the holidays and for 2021!

Puget Sound Energy will file its draft 2021 integrated resource plan on Jan. 4, but the 20-year planning document is already proving to be unpopular. Neither environmental groups, nor the utility, seem to be satisfied with the results. A storm of opposition is brewing to it, like the one Portland General Electric faced four years ago when it proposed a new natural gas plant.

An upcoming webinar at the end of January will explore the timely and vital topic of electric resource adequacy in California and the West. The Jan. 28-29 event, co-presented by NewsData and CJB Energy Economics, will feature a host of energy leaders from the Golden State as well as the Northwest and other points West.

Elliot Mainzer has a laundry list of challenges ahead of him as he takes the helm of the California ISO, most notably reforming a resource-adequacy program that has run off the rails a bit in the state, as well as improving the ISO's relationship with state agencies.

Jim Litchfield, who has worked on energy and salmon recovery issues in the Columbia Basin for 40 years, is retiring. After serving with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council for 11 years—and becoming its first power planning director—Litchfield opened a consulting firm and has worked with the region's energy leaders, states and nonprofits. On the eve of his retirement, he spoke with Clearing Up's K.C. Mehaffey about his thoughts on salmon recovery.

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On this Thanksgiving Day eve, we'd like to share with you notes of gratitude in this especially difficult year, from some members of the Northwest energy community. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

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While the promise of electrification—replacing natural gas by electricity in heating and power use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions—has much to recommend it in principal and "on paper," in practice it could be a complex endeavor, and may end up increasing cost for little reduction of GHG. Some of the pitfalls are explored in a recent study.

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A Danish investment fund has acquired three proposed hydro pumped storage projects in the Northwest, likely giving the proposed closed-loop ventures the financing needed to see them through development. But with capacity deficits on the horizon, and climate policies that largely prohibit development of fossil-fuel projects, the question is: Can the Northwest still build large, expensive infrastructure projects?

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The emergence of several ventures for the development, commercialization and application of next-generation battery technology around the state suggests Washington has a shot at becoming known for being in the center of that energy technology's future.

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Economist and veteran of the Northwest power scene, Robert McCullough gives his view of the root-cause analysis of the rolling blackouts California invoked during two days in August, and presents some solutions.

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Nicole Hughes, executive director of Portland-based Renewable Northwest, responds in this week's column to a recent article in Clearing Up (CU No. 1970 [13]) that outlined Benton County PUD's preference for nuclear power—especially small modular reactors—over wind for decarbonizing its generation portfolio. The PUD, located in Washington, laid out this position in a paper the utility released in July.

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Developers of a proposed solar panel and photovoltaic cell manufacturing plant in Washington state are making bold promises about products to be made and jobs to be generated. Whether they can deliver on those promises will help shape the public's perception of the ability of clean and green tech to generate new jobs to replace those lost in the major economic transition.

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The mid-August rolling blackouts in California raise serious resource adequacy issues, including metrics to measure RA, writes guest columnist Tom Karier. He suggests California could benefit from moving away from a reserve margin and instead use loss of load probability, as the Northwest does, to gauge the amount of future risk and the relative urgency of the problem.

For your convenience, NewsData has compiled a list of the acronyms we utilize throughout the Clearing Up Publication. Read more