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ISO Symposium Focuses on the Future

18 Oct

California’s grid operator during its annual stakeholder symposium in Sacramento envisioned a future filled with super-efficient autonomous electric vehicles, commonplace energy storage systems, an integrated western grid, and the chance that energy technologies yet unimagined will emerge. Speakers at the two-day California Independent System Operator meeting Oct. 17 and 18 also discussed how a rapidly […]

Undercurrents

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 18. To meet California’s ambitious 100 percent clean energy mandate, natural gas-fired space and water heaters need to be phased out. The ideal replacement is efficient electric heat pump technology, according to a new report, Decarbonization of Heating Energy Use in California Buildings: Technology, Markets, Impacts, and Policy Solutions. “Switching to electric heat […]

High, Hot Winds Prompt Utilities to Shut Off Power

15 Oct

Strong winds across wide stretches of California moved electric utilities Oct. 14 to turn off power in several areas to prevent equipment from sparking wildfires. The shut offs were preceded by notices of possible power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric cut power to 17,500 customers in Lake, Napa and Sonoma counties, and more than 42,000 […]

CPUC Okays Storage Projects & Funds to Control Gas Leaks

11 Oct

Utility regulators Oct. 11 delayed approving utility research and development plans funded through the Electric Program Investment Charge program, but okayed energy storage contracts for two utilities, and the collecting of rates to control methane leaks from utility pipelines. Without comment, the California Public Utilities Commission approved six energy storage contracts for Pacific Gas & […]

U.S. Senate Panel Probes Restarting Grid Post Blackout

11 Oct

Amid hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber threats, and a changing power generation resource mix, concerns are rising in Washington about the ability of the nation’s power industry to restore the grid after widespread blackouts. “The question we have to be able to answer,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural […]

SoCal House Races May Change National Energy Debate

9 Oct

Long-time Republican members of California’s Congressional delegation face uphill battles in retaining their seats next month. Meanwhile, new faces are guaranteed in districts where Republicans are retiring from the House. The potential changes come November—particularly if Democrats take over the House—could bring high profile showdowns on climate change, energy and environmental policy issues in Washington […]

Newsom & Cox Clash on Energy & Climate Change

9 Oct

Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox squared off Oct. 8 in a debate on KQED, clashing over energy and climate policy. Cox, the Republican champion, emphasized the need to pursue “affordable” energy and climate change policies. Newsom endorsed the Gov. Jerry Brown’s current direction, which he said is creating new job opportunities and “green […]

The Buzz

4 Oct

California’s big three investor-owned energy utilities are hit with credit downgrades. Their borrowing pains would be a lot higher but for enactment of SB 901. In spite of all the pro-electric vehicle effort and rhetoric in the state, the California Energy Commission slashes its spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology […]

Undercurrents: CEC Funding Falls for Emissions-Free Vehicles

4 Oct

As California strives to shift cars and other vehicles to electric and other greenhouse gas free or low emissions technologies, funding from a key California Energy Commission incentive program was cut. The Energy Commission adopted a $165.2 million 2018-19 spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program Oct. 3. The allocation […]

Civil Rights Group Sues CARB for Climate Discrimination

3 Oct

California’s air regulators were slapped with a lawsuit charging that their greenhouse gas reduction policies and practices, specifically the 2017 scoping plan to achieve mandated carbon reductions, are racially and economically discriminatory. “California’s climate change policies, and specifically those policies that increase the cost and delay or reduce the availability of housing, that increase the […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

CPUC’s High Ticket Attractions Next Week

19 Sep

Utility regulators are slated to vote next week on three proposals that could cost ratepayers more than a $1 billion. They include costs in proposed decisions that could advance transportation and integrate more renewable energy into the state’s grid. At its Sept. 27 meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to consider directing Pacific […]

Climate Roundup: Regional Collaborative Adds Climate Adaptation

17 Sep

West Coast governors pledged to begin incorporating climate resilience into their Pacific Coast Collaborative during last week’s Global Climate Action Summit. The governors said they were focusing on climate adaptation efforts because of the unprecedented wildfires and intensifying climate-fueled natural disasters across the West Coast. “We are already seeing the impact of climate change in […]

Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

Climate Change Puts Pressure on Utility Rates

12 Sep

Global warming is increasingly driving energy utility expenditures and could lead to higher utility rates in the years ahead, a key state energy official said Sept. 12. Utilities, said Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member, already are factoring the impacts of global warming into what they seek as revenue requirements in their general rate […]

PCIA Alternate Threatens Choice Programs, Say Aggregators

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 12, 2018. A proposed alternate decision on how to handle “exit” charges from investor-owned utilities for community choice aggregation programs and direct access providers is drawing substantial support from consumer advocates and utilities. Community choice aggregators, however, maintain that if the alternate decision by California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman is adopted […]

JUICE: Eyes Wide Shut on Wildfire Liability Bill

11 Sep

Lawmakers promised a transparent process for the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dealing with liability for utility-sparked wildfires fueled by multi-year drought, legions of dead and dying trees and higher temperatures. Yet, the final provisions and costs of SB 901 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) were anything but transparent. Transparent is defined as “free […]

Climate Roundup: Removing Carbon & LA’s Cooling Strategies

10 Sep

As temperatures climb, geo-engineering solutions to global warming are under heightened discussion, including efforts to sequester carbon from the atmosphere by the forestry and farm management sectors. In addition, high-tech efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and oceans are on the table. The various strategies are outlined in a series of papers by […]

CAISO Chief Laments Grid Regionalization Bill Failure

6 Sep

The grid operator’s chief executive officer went off script in his report to board this week to lambaste those who opposed AB 813. The bill would have authorized the California Independent System Operator to create a multi-state grid and wholesale power market in the West. “Those who opposed this are on the wrong side of […]

CAISO Encourages Storage & Demand Response

5 Sep

The grid operator’s board Sept. 5 approved rule changes aimed at promoting greater participation in its wholesale power market by providers of energy storage and distributed energy resources, including demand response, to cut load when power demand peaks on the grid. In a separate action, the California Independent System Operator’s board also voted to extend […]