CAISO Calls For Near-Term Power Procurement, Even With Possible Diablo Canyon Extension

The California Public Utilities Commission should reject calls to delay adding new power supplies in the state even though the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant’s impending retirement may be put on hold, according to the California Independent System Operator.

CAISO also supports a recommendation from the CPUC’s Public Advocates Office that the commission authorize immediate procurements to address system needs from 2026 through 2030, the grid operator said in comments it filed at the commission on Thursday.

Utilities on High Alert as Phishing Attempts, Cyber Probing Spike Related to Coronavirus

Utilities have seen a rise in phishing attempts and scams related to the Coronavirus, officials from the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) told Utility Dive, adding that investor-owned utilities represented by the group are alert and prepared, with companies collaborating to mitigate the threat.

“Bad actors are already using COVID-19 and people’s desire for information as a phishing and malware distribution opportunity,” Jamil Jaffer, vice president for strategy and partnerships at IronNet Cybersecurity, told Utility Dive. The combination “creates softer targets across multiple sectors.”

Storage Bill Expanding Utility Rate Recovery Options for Battery Projects Clears Senate Committee

With bipartisan support, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week advanced a comprehensive energy storage package, reported as an amendment to the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act.

Introduced by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, the BEST Act would require the federal government to support energy storage research and demonstration projects. Along with the attached bills, it would open a standardized path for utilities to recover storage costs in federal rate proceedings.

Phishing Campaign Continues to Target Utilities, Evolves Attack Techniques

Security firm Proofpoint on Monday revealed that what appears to be a state-sponsored hacking campaign targeting the U.S. utility sector with malware dubbed “Lookback” has continued and grown more sophisticated since it was first revealed this summer.

Proofpoint now says it has identified 17 utilities targeted from April 5 through Aug. 29, employing previously unknown techniques and with later phishing attempts using updated macros to obscure their purpose. The firm’s previous report said it had identified three targeted utilities.

UC San Diego Launches Study On Recycling EV Batteries Into Energy Storage

Cummins, a manufacturing company, on Tuesday announced a multiyear partnership with the University of California (UC) San Diego and its battery validation lab to analyze viable business applications and technical approaches to reuse and repurpose electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

The partnership will focus solely on lithium-ion batteries and is one of the first projects to exclusively study second-life battery capabilities that were designed for commercial applications, Cummins said.​

Foreign Hackers Impersonated Professional Licensing Board In Attack On Utilities

Security firm Proofpoint on Thursday said it uncovered an “advanced phishing campaign” that specifically targeted U.S. utility companies by impersonating an engineering licensing board. The firm said emails sent between July 19 and July 25 went to three utilities, which it declined to name. Messages purporting to be from the U.S. National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying contained a malicious attachment that utilized macros to install and run malware named “LookBack.” The attempts highlight the “continuing global risk from nation-state actors,” according to Proopoint. In June, the United States’ chief energy regulator warned the electric grid is “increasingly under attack by foreign adversaries.”

DOE Announces $16M In Funding For 14 Tribal Energy Projects

On Tuesday, the DOE announced more than $16 million in funding for 14 tribal energy infrastructure projects through its Office of Indian Energy. The projects add over 13 MW of capacity for 900 buildings, and will save approximately $7.5 million annually, according to Office of Indian Energy Director Kevin R. Frost. Nine of the projects will involve new solar installations, while others involve energy efficiency, battery storage and microgrids, among other technologies.

CAISO To Require Equipment Improvements For Inverter-Based Generation

The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will require equipment improvements for renewable energy resources, requiring inverter-based generators to inject reactive current during low-voltage conditions in order to maintain grid reliability.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the ISO’s tariff revisions in a July 2 order. The change is designed to allow increased integration of wind and solar power.

California Regulators Propose 2 GW New Peak Capacity To Address Reliability Concerns

California regulators have launched a “procurement track” to address potential reliability questions between 2019 and 2024, including whether there are sufficient resources to meet the state’s peak system reliability needs. On June 20, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a commissioner’s ruling that recommends load serving entities (LSE) procure 2 GW of new peak capacity statewide, to come online by Aug. 1, 2021. The procurement track proceeding is a part of the state’s effort to overhaul utility integrated resource planning (IRP). Initial comments are due July 15.

Want To Know If California Can Make Zero Emissions By 2045? Here’s What To Watch

California plans to reach 60% renewables by 2030 and a zero emissions economy by 2045 as its investor-owned utilities (IOUs) face wildfires and bankruptcy, new and unproven electricity providers proliferate and customers demand a decentralized energy system. What could go wrong? The key to success is eliminating natural gas as an electricity resource, stakeholders told Utility Dive. To do that, the state must make one fundamental change at the local level and another at the transmission system level.