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LA County Choice Program Goes Live

13 Feb

Los Angeles Community Choice Energy became operational this month, serving some 2,000 county facilities. Operating under the new name of the Clean Power Alliance of Southern California, it will have more than 2.4 million residential customers and a quarter of a million business customers in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties and 26 […]

Undercurrents

12 Feb

President Trump’s proposed $30.6 billion 2019 budget for the Department of Energy would cut annual funding for energy-related programs at the agency by $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the proposal “decimates our nation’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which will increase energy costs for consumers, undermine clean […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

JUICE: A Legislative Energy Agenda

6 Feb

As the Legislature gathers steam in Sacramento, numerous key energy-related issues are ripe for action, from how to deal with over-capacity in the state’s power market to the extent to which electric utilities should be liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Energy agencies are attempting to deal with some of the conflicts—for instance, exit […]

BLM Reopens Desert Conservation Plan

2 Feb

The Bureau of Land Management may expand the acreage open to renewable energy siting and broadband facilities in California under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The potential expansion was announced Feb. 1. “We need to reduce burdens on all domestic energy development, including solar, wind and other renewables,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Fire Risks Require Land & Building Changes, CPUC Told

1 Feb

Fire safety scientists and engineers predict California will face mounting danger from wildfires in the coming decade due to climate change regardless of what energy utilities do to reduce the chances that their equipment may ignite blazes. The chief way to prevent a mounting toll of death, injury, and property damage, they told the California […]

Undercurrents

1 Feb

Community choice advocates are planning to protest Feb. 8, just before  the California Public Utilities Commission’s voting meeting,  in hopes of derailing a fast track resolution they say would effectively freeze choice program formations for two years. Their ire is aimed at CPUC President Mike Picker, who they claim is trying to railroad through a […]

Climate Roundup: Climate Change Adoption Report

30 Jan

The California Natural Resources Agency updated its climate adaptation report Jan. 29 against the backdrop of rising temperatures, a season of major wildfires, and extreme weather events. “California leads the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat the effects of climate change, but impacts already are being felt and they are disproportionately affecting our […]

Brown Touts Climate Change Leadership in State of the State

25 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown highlighted the state’s leadership on climate change in his final State of the State Address to a joint session of the Legislature Jan. 25. He promised he would soon unveil a carbon cap-and-trade program expenditure plan that helps all California communities. “The science of climate change is not in doubt,” said the […]

CA Sues Trump over Federal Fracking Rule

24 Jan

California’s top attorney filed another suit against the Trump Administration, this time for repealing regulations to mitigate the impacts of fracking oil and gas wells on federal and Native American tribal lands in and outside the state. President Trump and Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke “didn’t let the law or facts get in their way […]

Solar Tariff Means U.S. Job Loss, Industry Warns

22 Jan

President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules aimed primarily at China, which is the world’s number one producer. “The International Trade Commission found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. […]

House Bill Eases PURPA’s Must-Buy Requirement

22 Jan

State energy regulators would gain more authority to waive the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act’s must-buy requirement for utilities under legislation debated Jan. 19 in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy. The measure, H.R. 4476, would allow state utility commissions to relieve utilities of the duty to purchase power from facilities with capacities […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

ISO Plans Discounted Western Reliability Services

18 Jan

The California grid operator is working to expand its services to include reliability coordination and expects it to cost potentially less than half of what’s charged by Peak Reliability, the current reliability coordinator in the West. “We have a fairly high confidence that the cost will be at least a 50 percent discount to Peak […]

Science Panel Sees New Wine in Old Gas Storage Field Bottles

18 Jan

An independent state science panel concluded this week that California will continue to be reliant on natural gas storage facilities through 2020 to meet its energy needs, particularly for winter heating and power. Looking longer term, the panel suggested that California study how the storage fields will fit into a decarbonized economy. It suggested, for […]

FERC Rules Aim to Enhance Grid Cybersecurity

18 Jan

Federal regulators Jan. 18 approved new rules to strengthen cybersecurity for software, industrial control hardware, and computing and networking systems used to operate the nation’s bulk power system. The so-called “supply chain risk management protections” are supposed to guard against adversaries who would disrupt the grid by supplying counterfeit equipment and by tampering with the […]

Cap-&-Trade’s Effectiveness Questioned

17 Jan

Amid concern that California’s carbon cap-and-trade is awash in emissions rights so that companies face no pressure to reduce greenhouse gases, state lawmakers called on the California Air Resources Board to analyze how the various measures in the state’s climate program have worked over the past 10 years. “Experts say the state will meet the […]

Choice Program & Utility Reps Inch Towards Exit Fee Deal

17 Jan

Utilities and community choice aggregators this week worked to find common ground on transferring utility power portfolios to community choice programs and direct access providers to replace exit fees imposed on the non-utility organizations by the California Public Utilities Commission. The parties outlined their alternatives during a Jan. 16-17 CPUC workshop held as part of […]

Undercurrents

16 Jan

The world’s energy supply increasingly is being dominated by solar and wind technologies, the International Energy Agency told U.S. lawmakers. Fatih Birol, IEA executive director, told the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Jan. 16 that by 2040 renewable technologies will produce 40 percent of the world’s electricity. Solar will dominate the march of […]