The Buzz

21 Jun 2018

Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires.

The California Public Utilities Commission sets resource adequacy requirements for 2019 for a growing list of load-serving entities. More importantly, the energy regulators signal they are open to multi-year resource adequacy procurement and setting up a central authority to enter into resource adequacy contracts.

In the state capitol, legislation to enable a western wholesale energy market and regionalized grid narrowly passes a key committee. It faces a tough road ahead amid skepticism from some influential lawmakers and organized labor.

Despite the friction, this week’s Juice column finds merit in the regionalization measure as demonstrated by the positive track record of the grid operator’s regional energy imbalance market.

Meanwhile, the CPUC shuts down a plan by San Diego Gas & Electric to build a $700 million natural gas pipeline because it isn’t needed.

State energy regulators also authorize new incentives for installing rooftop and community solar systems in low-income communities.

In climate policy developments, it appears the state’s low carbon fuel standard could be relaxed due to concerns over its cost and questions about its effectiveness at cutting greenhouse gases.

Colorado ups the ante for the Trump Administration when it comes to loosening auto emissions standards. Gov. John Hickenlooper announces the state will begin enforcing California’s vehicle standards.

In Los Angeles, a city council committee balks at requiring the Department of Water & Power to advance its timetable for studying whether it can commit to a 100 percent renewable power.

Up in Sacramento, it’s bills, bills, and more bills on energy and climate change as the Legislature races to report measures from policy committees before the summer adjournment. A Senate panel approves a number of measures, as did a key committee in the Assembly. Measures promote hydrogen energy, storage, and a host of additional objectives.

—The Editors

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