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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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


The Buzz

16 Sep 2016

Now that the state has enacted new laws seeking to boost equity in who benefits from addressing climate change, California officials have their work cut out for them, according to a report issued after enactment of AB 197. That law calls for using the state’s greenhouse gas reduction program to improve life in working class communities.

The report came after Gov. Jerry Brown signed four additional bills aimed at promoting environmental justice in state climate policies, including one to spend $900 million of carbon auction money that’s been held...


Overcoming the “Green Divide”

15 Sep 2016

Significantly improved transparency, accountability, and data collection are needed to ensure California achieves the climate equity targets articulated in the newly signed climate protection bills, according to a coalition of environmental justice and labor union advocates.

“The two most daunting challenges are climate change and social equity,” said Rachel Morello-Frosch, professor of environmental science, policy and management at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health...


The Buzz

9 Sep 2016

Amid the lens of international attention, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation calling for a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in California by 2030. He also autographed an intertwined bill stepping up legislative oversight of the California Air Resources Board, which is in charge of carrying out the legislation, and to assure that low-income communities directly benefit.

This week’s column asks why small-scale renewable generators that feed utility distribution systems get stuck with a transmission access charge...


JUICE: Finding Equal Footing for Small Renewable Wholesalers

8 Sep 2016

Getting recognition in a large family was no easy feat. Being heard above the din of seven older siblings and three younger ones was an ongoing challenge, but the biggest one was overcoming the special treatment my heavily-outnumbered parents gave their first born.

The first step in my long road to getting individual recognition was breaking free from “the little kids” label. Then it took until my mid-30s to make meaningful headway...


The Buzz

1 Sep 2016

Just before the start of Labor Day weekend, lawmakers labored to get several significant climate protection and energy bills to the Governor’s desk. Among them are three bills to direct spending of unspent cap-and-trade revenue and to designate much of the money for pollution reduction from transportation, including from large and small vehicles, and in poor industrialized communities plagued by dirty air...


JUICE: Time to Tax Carbon

1 Sep 2016

The season for a carbon tax is here.

After almost four years, it’s clear that carbon cap-and-trade is a sideshow in addressing climate change.

The real drivers of emissions reductions have been the state’s renewable portfolio standard, energy efficiency efforts, automotive mileage standards, and direct emissions reduction rules for a variety of climate pollutants like refrigerants and black carbon emitted by diesel vehicles...


Community Choice Gaining Critical Mass

25 Aug 2016

Community energy choice is spreading like wildfire because of its greener energy pastures at lower costs. Former ratepayers of Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison—unless they decide not to become part of a city or county aggregation program— get access to power with a bigger slice of green energy, anywhere from 35 percent to 100 percent renewable resources, with base level renewable energy plans undercutting utility power prices...


CPUC Restricts SDG&E’s New Marketing Arm Formed to Fight Choice

18 Aug 2016

State utility regulators approved a plan by San Diego Gas & Electric to fight community choice aggregation in San Diego by establishing an “arm’s-length” marketing organization.

However, the California Public Utilities Commission decision Aug. 18 found that because the marketing operation may provide information about energy it should be subject of all the commission’s affiliate transaction rules that govern operations providing products and services that use electricity...


OPINIONATED: Do Oil & Renewables Mix?

28 Jul 2016

By Fereidoon Sioshansi

Editor’s Note: This guest editorial points out signs of what’s ahead on the climate protection front, particularly given growing pressure in California, from the U.S. EPA and around the globe to slash greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels. Sioshansi’s analysis is of particular interest because fossil fueled transportation is the largest source of California’s carbon pollution, almost double that emitted by the electricity sector...


LA County Choice Program Urged to Rely on Distributed Generation

21 Jul 2016

Los Angeles County is seeking electricity suppliers for a community choice aggregation program that could begin Jan. 1.

“Community choice aggregators represent a significant opportunity for communities to band together and purchase green energy for their residents, at a lower price, than the current structure of for-profit investor-owned utilities now allow,” according to Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Keuhl...