You are viewing our free articles. To view our subscriber-only content, please sign in or sign up for a free two-week trial!

The Buzz

2 Dec 2016


The California appeals court upheld the California Public Utilities Commission’s decision approving a long-term 500 MW gas plant deal between San Diego Gas & Electric and the Carlsbad project.  The enviros brought the legal challenge in an attempt to have more renewable resources to meet the local capacity need.

Playing a large role in green energy are rare metals, which come from a complex, opaque and little understood supply chain across the seas...

[more...]

JUICE: Working Off that Aliso Canyon Flab

29 Nov 2016


Editor's Note: This article was revised Nov. 30 after the Department of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources announced that it will hold a hearing on the safety of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility at a date to be determined in January 2017.

 

Southern Californians may have to break out their sweaters.

With falling temperatures, home owners in the Southland are cranking up their heaters while the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field remains inoperable after a massive methane leak...

[more...]

The Buzz

18 Nov 2016


Dear Readers:

Because Thanksgiving is next week, we will post the week’s stories online on Wednesday, Nov. 23. Additionally, we will combine next week’s issue with the following week’s publication, and post a single PDF online, covering Nov. 21-Dec. 2.

 

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power board gave the green light to a 1MW subsidized solar program slated for a low-income community to help fill in the solar rooftop gaps in the sunny region...

[more...]

JUICE: CA Green Ain’t the New Black

17 Nov 2016


Last week’s national election was demoralizing for clean energy advocates and many others but it also had the inverse effect of galvanizing state and local leadership.

A few days after the election, Gov. Jerry Brown pledged to “protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time, devastating climate change.” He also announced that the number of countries, states and cities committed to a subnational climate protection agreement, complementing the United Nations’ Paris climate pact, grew to 165 this week...

[more...]

The Buzz

10 Nov 2016


Counteracting the national trend, California elected Democrats to the state Legislature pledging to continue the state’s drive to a decarbonized economy and reaffirming its commitment to climate protection. Californians also sent lawmakers to Congress who are committed to clean energy.

This week’s Juice column remembers the late Tom Hayden, who back in the 1970s helped launch the state’s long efforts to foster solar energy in a report that concluded the technology would boost the economy and create new jobs...

[more...]

JUICE: California Solarizing

10 Nov 2016


The late Tom Hayden is known for his anti-war and civil rights activism, and nearly two decades in the California Legislature. Less known and as important are his contributions to launching and reviving the state’s drive toward a low-carbon energy economy, particularly with the rise of climate change deniers.

Hayden’s work included developing a groundbreaking report released in 1978 on the jobs potential of solar power development in California, specifically solar hot water and space heating...

[more...]

The Buzz

4 Nov 2016


Western guns aim at the CA grid operator’s regionalization governance proposal. The showdown is over the fact that the Golden State, which has the biggest demand, would get the biggest say, turning others bullets into blanks.

Far from the Dakota pipeline protests, JUICE highlights a protest led by a Native American chief at San Onofre over extending the time the radioactive waste stays onsite...

[more...]

CAISO Western Grid Governance Proposal Is Non-Starter for Coal Heavy States

3 Nov 2016


 

Fault lines between California and other states over how to govern a regionalized grid and wholesale power market were revealed in comments submitted to the California Energy Commission last week in response to the latest governance structure proposed by the grid operator.

At issue is the California Independent System Operator’s plan for weighted voting, which would give the Golden State effective veto power over any initiative or decision made by the Western States Committee...

[more...]

The Buzz

28 Oct 2016


Reliability is poised to trump ecosystem protection in San Diego at least for a while. The old Encina coastal power plant is not expected to be put out to pasture as planned, with its  once-through cooling phase-out sure to be extended. Meanwhile the grid operator eases replacement power requirements for generating facilities that suffer unexpected outages.

California’s 50 percent renewable standard is garnering loads of attention, both in and outside the state...

[more...]

Once-Through Cooling Compliance Delay Likely for Encina

27 Oct 2016


State energy regulators expect to seek an extension of the once-through cooling phase-out date for NRG Energy’s aging 954.5 MW Encina power plant in San Diego County to ensure local reliability. Ongoing litigation over the replacement Carlsbad project makes the request “extremely likely,” said Ed Randolph, CPUC energy division director, at the commission’s Oct. 27 meeting.

Randolph added it is not yet known how many megawatts the commission will ask to keep on line from part or all of the five-unit plant...

[more...]

The Buzz

21 Oct 2016


The buzz this week includes how much of a supply cushion is adequate in a western wide grid and who decides.  Although the California grid operator is moving full steam ahead on regionalization, legislative energy committee consultants say plan specifics continue to be missing in action.

JUICE finds not missing in action are California’s private and public utility commitments to diversity in the workforce, leaving many in the U...

[more...]

JUICE: Energy Diversity

20 Oct 2016


When California Current, previously called CA Energy Circuit, launched in 2003 a big concern of our small operation was workplace diversity. Being owned by two women negated the traditional male dominance issue, but being an all-white duo was a concern.

While slogging up the steep business learning curve, we hired two men to work for us as correspondents in the Southland. We knew of their previous reporting work, but had not met either of them in person...

[more...]

The Buzz

14 Oct 2016


Spotlighted at a meeting of state energy regulators in Long Beach this week were two multi-day blackouts in the city in summer of 2015. A California Public Utilities Commission inquiry blamed them on deficient equipment, records and communication. Without explanation, the CPUC said it won’t consider penalizing Edison before next summer. 

The commission this week did consider and approved SDG&E’s $260 million high voltage line connected to the Sunrise Powerlink to improve the flow of traditional and green energy resources...

[more...]

OPINONATED: CAISO Ignores Massive Market Distortion that Harms Local Renewables

13 Oct 2016


By Craig Lewis

The California Independent System Operator just dropped the ball on needed transmission access charge reform and Californians will continue paying a steep price for this failure.

In most electric utility service territories in California, transmission fees are applied to every kWh of metered customer electricity usage, regardless of whether the transmission grid is used at all...

[more...]

The Buzz

7 Oct 2016


Included in this week’s buzz is Gov. Brown’s final around of signatures on more energy-related legislation. It includes bills to provide money to bolster energy efficiency and to jump start stalled biomethane capture projects.

In this week’s column, Bill Kelly writes about how the city of Bell in Southeast Los Angeles County is being negatively impacted by the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, adding to Bell’s long, sorry history of industrial pollution affronts...

[more...]

JUICE: A Letter from Bell to CARB

6 Oct 2016


Editor’s Note: Since returning to California in 1988, Bill Kelly has frequently visited Bell and other communities in Southeast Los Angeles County in various professional capacities, including as the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s spokesperson for 12 years. The city of Bell is surrounded by polluting industries unlike where he lives and raised his family. In this letter he wrote about Bell to the California Air Resources Board, Kelly shares what he’s learned over these years about how environmental regulators are perceived, and why they are met with distrust...

[more...]

The Buzz

30 Sep 2016


What goes up must go down.  We discover that this is not true for greenhouse gas emissions from plants under the cap-and-trade program.  Current took a close look at Air Board data to see how the cap, which is supposed to lower emissions, failed to achieve that aim in many polluted communities, as noted by environmental justice advocates. While sorry news, it is far from simple.

Also falling far short of the mark is the package of CPUC reform-esque measures...

[more...]

OPINIONATED: What Happened to Legislative Reform of the CPUC?

29 Sep 2016


by Todd Edmister

 

This summer, large-scale legislative reform of the California Public Utilities Commission seemed inevitable.

Two bills that would have stripped the CPUC of some of its jurisdiction while creating an internal audit process, AB 2903 and SB 1017, were moving through the Legislature.

On June 3rd, the Assembly passed ACA 11, repealing “provisions of the California Constitution pertaining to the commission effective Jan...

[more...]

The Buzz

23 Sep 2016


The California Air Resources Board this week began weighing sweeping amendments to its carbon cap-and-trade program to extend it past 2020 and to call for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Final action on the changes is not due until spring of 2017.

In Los Angeles, the city council ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, the nation’s largest muni, to study how to get to 100 percent renewable energy...

[more...]

Los Angeles Eyes 100% Renewable Energy Goal

22 Sep 2016


The Los Angeles City Council ordered the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power on Sept. 16 to study how to move to 100 percent renewable energy.

The council unanimously passed a motion calling for the muni to team up with academics, the Department of Energy, the Southern California Public Power Authority, and others to outline the investments it will need to make to achieve a 100 percent renewable portfolio...

[more...]