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The Buzz

24 Jan

FERC member Bernard McNamee bids adieu to the agency. Whether to allow coastal power plants that use huge quantities of water to cool down is still at issue. Center stage are proposed extensions of the legal deadlines, set in 2010, for four plants along the Southern California coast. Under an agreement between Pacific Gas & […]

So Cal Power Plants Slated to Stay Online Up to Three More Years

24 Jan

The contentious issue of keeping a handful of aging power plants along the Southern California coast running beyond their legal deadline was debated at a Jan. 23 meeting of the Statewide Advisory Committee on Once Through Cooling. The grid operator, the California Public Utilities Commission and the owner of the plants want to keep the […]

Commissioner McNamee to Leave FERC

23 Jan

The five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has two unfilled seats, will see the departure of Commissioner Bernard McNamee at the end of June. “I am not seeking a reappointment,” McNamee announced at the Commission’s Jan. 23 meeting. He plans to leave the commission when his term ends June 30. McNamee, a Republican, was appointed […]

CEC Okays Diesel Engine at Geothermal Plant & PV Exemption

23 Jan

The California Energy Commission Jan. 22 approved adding a diesel engine to a geothermal power plant, exempting new residential buildings from its photovoltaic requirements, and signing off on $2.7 million in clean energy grants. The CEC also launched a small energy project proceeding for a new data center, which could allow diesel backup generators. A […]

PG&E Refinancing Plan Appears to be Last One Standing

23 Jan

A reorganization plan proposed by bondholders of Pacific Gas & Electric that competes with the utility’s own proposal will disappear if certain financing conditions are met, PG&E announced late Wednesday. “Reaching a resolution with the bondholder group is a positive development to move forward with our plan of reorganization,” PG&E Corp. Chief Executive Officer and […]

CPUC Warns of Rising Electric Rates

22 Jan

San Diego Gas & Electric’s rates increased 50 percent over the last decade. The utility bills of ratepayers of the other two investor-owned utilities will soon follow suit. That is what California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee during its Jan. 22 annual CPUC review. Batjer said continuing […]

Shorts

22 Jan

How wildfire impacts the environment and energy infrastructure is the subject of a Jan. 28 hearing planned by House Energy and Commerce Committee. The chair, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), highlighted how California, in particularly, has been hammered by several big wildfires. He called for “a robust response” from the federal government, including help to ensure […]

CA Agencies Work to Fuel Large Vehicles with Clean Hydrogen

21 Jan

State energy and air pollution regulators’ efforts to make California carbon neutral by mid century include support for new and emerging sources of renewable hydrogen to fuel vehicles, large and small, private and public. The California Air Resources Board mandated in 2018 that all public transit bus fleets in California be zero-emission by 2040. Fuel […]

CEC Aims to Bolster Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Electric Cars

21 Jan

To help California meet its mandate that 60% of state electricity resources be from renewable energy by 2030, and be 100% carbon-free 15 years later, a diversity of clean power products is being pursued. That includes renewable hydrogen. Solar power, wind power, geothermal, biogas and energy storage are expected to be part of the renewable […]

$110M Settlement w/ PG&E for Bogus Pipeline Markings

21 Jan

Pacific Gas & Electric could pay an extra $44 million for violating safety rules following an investigation by the California Public Utilities Commission that revealed fabricated, missing, and shoddy markings on PG&E underground gas lines. The company violated rules intended to prevent injuries and damage during pipeline excavations, according to the CPUC. A Jan. 17 […]

Key Deadline Set for PG&E to Close Bankruptcy Door

21 Jan

A federal judge set a deadline for a crucial hearing in the Pacific Gas & Electric’s financial reorganization, further solidifying the calendar for the utility’s emergence from bankruptcy. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California last week directed a status conference be held no later than Jan. 29. That date marks one […]

Guest Juice: Energy Storage Prospects Rise with Fall in Renewable Costs

20 Jan

By Wayne Hicks An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow—is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it’s also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it’s needed. Declining costs in available technologies have propelled interest in energy storage forward like never […]

The Buzz

16 Jan

State energy regulators give Southern California Edison the green light to collect $4.7 billion for projected 2020 energy costs during their first meeting of the year. The California Public Utilities Commission also votes unanimously to dedicate most of the Self Generation Incentive Program rebates to energy storage in fire-stressed communities. In addition, the commission approves […]

Edison to Reap Nearly $5B for 2020 Energy Costs

16 Jan

State energy regulators Jan. 16 unanimously approved Southern California Edison collecting $4.7 billion in energy and greenhouse gas emission projected costs this year from current and former ratepayers. Edison’s 2020 electric resource procurement forecast authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission includes $3.72 billion in power costs. Edison stated that the generation it owns and […]

Storage Rebates Shift to Communities in High Fire Areas

16 Jan

In the latest after-effect of the preemptive blackouts that Northern Californians suffered through last Fall, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Jan. 16 to accelerate rebates for energy storage systems in fire-stressed communities. The rebates will prioritize places like grocery stores, corner stores, independent living centers, food banks and other places where people spontaneously […]

CA Regulators Seek to Meld Gas Planning & Clean Energy Targets

16 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to initiate a rulemaking to update its natural gas reliability and long-term planning. The overall aim is to revamp its planning process to ensure gas systems are safe and reliable as California weans itself off of fossil fuels. “The gas system is going through profound changes,” Commissioner […]

CARB Approves Border Emissions Reduction Program

16 Jan

A new community-focused emissions reduction program aimed at reducing air pollution in a section of Imperial County near the Mexico border was approved by the California Air Resources Board during a Jan. 15 meeting. “It is a remarkable day and a remarkable historic process that we’re involved in,” ARB Chair Mary Nichols said just before […]

Senate Energy Panel Okays Outage Penalties, Rejects Big Hydro as Renewable

15 Jan

Legislation that would impose fines on utilities for unreasonable power outages and require them to compensate businesses and other customers harmed by blackouts passed the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee Jan. 15. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) authored SB 378 because private utility “financial incentives err on the side of blackouts.” Weiner accused utilities […]

Assembly Bills Focus on Wildfire Impacts and Resource Adequacy

14 Jan

Protecting utilities against wildfire liability and customers against the loss of power during safety shutoffs remain top legislative priorities. AB 235 by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) and two other legislators would allow PG&E to issue bonds to pay for wildfire victim recovery claims after Jan. 2019. This bill, which was carried over from the […]

Back in the Spotlight: Power Outages and Supplies, and the Definition of Renewable

14 Jan

Before lawmakers this session is Senate legislation to make buildings more fire resistant in high risk areas, protect customers during utility power shutoffs, and rework the renewables mandate. A few of these bills will be heard Jan. 15 in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communication Committee’s first hearing of the year. Three bills seek to […]