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The Buzz

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric fails to garner an extra $1.5 billion for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, as the CPUC stands by an administrative law judge’s decision. FERC moves a bit closer to a quorum as a Senate panel holds a hearing on President Trump’s nominees. In a report that’s, well, quite predictable, CARB […]

Climate Roundup: $ Said Key to Clean Transportation in Low-Income Areas

25 May

Not only is new funding needed but existing money should be better prioritized in order to increase access to clean transportation in poor communities in California, according to a California Air Resources Board analysis presented May 25. The report—required under SB 350, which was enacted in 2015 to advance the state’s transition to clean energy—concludes […]

Gov. Sees Environmental Justice Problems Up Close

24 May

Gov. Jerry Brown met with Assemblymember Christina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) May 23 to tour the 58th Assembly District in Southeast Los Angeles County and discuss how to meld state efforts on climate change with cleaning up toxic and smog-forming air pollution in working class neighborhoods. “Today, the Governor got to breathe the same air as […]

JUICE: Beyond a Bud Light Future in EV Charging

24 May

The beer flowed May 19 in Sacramento after an all-day meeting on the future of “retail competition” in the California electric power industry. But when the waiters picked up the glasses and mopped up the suds little really had been settled. While other states abound with consumer choice in retail power plans—sporting such features as […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

San Jose is Largest U.S. City to Choose Community Choice

18 May

The city of San Jose is forming a community choice aggregation program after its city council voted unanimously May 16 to approve the step. The program should become operational in April of 2018 if all goes as planned. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that with the vote the city will become “the largest” in […]

SCE Labor Practices Impact Rates & Safety, Union Says

17 May

Southern California Edison’s 2018-2020 rate case has become embroiled in a labor dispute in which a major union says it’s been locked out of contracting jobs with the utility, which are on the upswing as the company focuses on improving its aging distribution system. Enhancing the safety of its distribution system, in which equipment failures […]

Edison Rate Hike

17 May

Southern California Edison’s proposed general rate case will raise the average bill of residential customers who use 600 kWh a month by $3.75 in 2018, another $5.65 in 2019, and then again by an additional $7.29 in 2020, according to California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Steve Roscow. By 2020, those who use 600 […]

Undercurrents: Agencies Aim to End Low-Income Barriers to Clean Energy

17 May

State energy agencies shared their hopes and ideas about how to extend the economic and environmental benefits of alternative energy technologies—from rooftop solar systems to electric cars—to low-income residents at a joint agency meeting May 16. “We don’t have a smooth road to travel,” said Alice Reynolds, an advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown. “We know […]

LA Jump Starts Feed-In Tariff Program

17 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is restarting its solar feed-in tariff program at a higher price beginning mid-June under a streamlined procedure. The muni’s board approved the move May 16. Under the revised program, the utility will seek 65 MW of solar production in blocks of 5 MW at a fixed price […]

Shorts

17 May

A bill to extend incentives for solar water heating systems passed the Assembly May 16. AB 797 by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) cleared the chamber 48-22. It will allow home and building owners to get a state rebate along with an ongoing 30 percent federal tax incentive to install solar hot water and pool […]

Regulators Okay 11% PG&E Rate Hike

11 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will raise its rates by 11.3 percent over the next three years under a unanimously approved California Public Utilities Commission decision on the utility’s 2017-19 general rate case. PG&E’s authorized annual revenue under the decision approved May 11 will increase from its current level of $7.916 billion to $8.809 billion in […]

Lawmakers Favor Amended Cap & Trade Program

10 May

Lawmakers held a marathon hearing May 10 on the future of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, vowing to improve upon it as a strategy beyond 2020 rather than replacing it with a carbon tax or more regulations. Cap-and-trade, as its currently structured, likely will be unable to achieve the state’s 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction […]

Opinionated: The Energy Efficiency Conundrum

9 May

By Todd Edmister In its well-intentioned efforts to address climate change in SB 350, the California Legislature mandated that state investor-owned utilities “double” energy savings cost-effectively by 2030. The fly in the ointment here is that SB 350’s new “doubling” requirement rests atop long-established legislation already requiring private utilities to obtain “all available energy efficiency […]

Climate Roundup: Renewable Gas = Economic Growth?

9 May

Collecting methane from animal feed lots, landfills, sewage treatment plants and other facilities and using it for transportation fuel—particularly to replace diesel fuel in heavy-duty vehicles—could create 130,000 new jobs in California and add $14 billion a year to the state’s economy by 2030, claim renewable gas advocates. The California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition and […]

Trump to Fill FERC Vacancies

9 May

President Donald Trump May 9 signaled his intention to appoint two members to the quorum-less Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The commission, which regulates wholesale power markets, natural gas pipelines, hydropower facilities and other energy-related activities, still will be one seat short of a full five member board. Trump announced he’s appointing Robert Powelson of the […]

Generator Earnings Mixed in First Quarter

9 May

Generators latest earnings report were not as grim as reported in previous quarters but also nothing to write home about. AES: This Virginia-based company continues to suffer losses. The first quarter of 2017 it reported a loss of $24 million, or minus 4 cents per share. That compares with net earnings of $126 million reported […]

Undercurrents: Laying Ground Rules to Lessen Grid Insecurities

3 May

Energy regulators face myriad challenges in ensuring that state utilities adequately protect their substations, power lines and other energy infrastructure, from utility resistance to sharing sensitive information to impacts on ratepayer wallets. “Making sure the utilities are not overspending, and spending the right amount and in the right areas,” are key concerns, California Public Utilities […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]

Summer Eclipse May Triple Ramp Rate

2 May

A solar eclipse in August will test the state’s grid as it shades California’s growing number of utility-scale and rooftop solar systems. The eclipse is forcing the California Independent System Operator to plan needed contingency measures that could involve calling a flex alert to make up for a resource shortage. “We expect several thousands of […]