Archive by Author

Correction

10 Jun

Last week, Current reported that energy storage bill SB 772 by Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) cleared the state Senate. However, the Senate did not pass the bill, but days later agreed to reconsider the measure in the next session of the Legislature, effectively making SB 772 a two-year bill. Later, at Bradford’s request, the measure […]

The Buzz

6 Jun

As lawmakers contemplate a legislative course to deal with the mounting financial implications of wildfires, it’s increasingly evident that utility ratepayers will have to shoulder billions of dollars of costs. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders appear to rule out eliminating strict liability for utilities that spark wildfires, at least for now. California’s developing […]

Ratepayers Face Billions of Wildfire Costs

6 Jun

Under pressure to act on the mounting financial impacts of wildfires including those sparked by electric utilities, lawmakers face fundamental choices as the end of the legislative session begins to come into view. Almost all of them involve handing ratepayers much of the tab for untold billions of dollars of utility wildfire expenses. The choices […]

All-Electric Buildings Raise Rates

6 Jun

As California pursues a strategy to phase out the use of natural gas for heating space and water, cooking and other uses it will have to develop a transition plan to prevent remaining gas customers from rate shock. That’s according to a new study conducted for the California Energy Commission. “This has big implications for […]

Undercurrents: CAISO Is New Western Reliability Coordinator

5 Jun

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. early this week approved the California Independent System Operator as the West’s new reliability coordinator. With NERC certification in hand, CAISO will begin offering reliability coordinator services to electricity balancing authorities across the western states and in part of Mexico on July 1. “The NERC certification is an important […]

Juice: Uncle Joe Offers Climate Change Hope

4 Jun

News flash: Joe Biden just released a $1.7 trillion climate change plan as part of his Presidential campaign platform. While on the late side compared to others, including candidates who spent last weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Biden’s plan may well be just as sweeping in its ambition. First and foremost, […]

Energy Storage Draws Bipartisan Praise in U.S. Senate

4 Jun

Energy storage gained stature in Congress this week during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 4. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, called storage an “innovative technology” that is adding resilience and economic efficiency to the nation’s grid while reducing greenhouse gases. She noted that an increasing number of Alaskan […]

Newsom & Lawmakers Reject Revising Strict Liability

3 Jun

As the Legislature looks ahead to summer, the governor and leading legislators have made it clear that setting up a wildfire insurance fund will be the chief priority in the coming months instead of changing state liability law. Facing massive liabilities for wildfires sparked by electric lines, utilities have continued to call for revising the […]

Shorts

3 Jun

Updated June 6. East Bay Community Energy inked a ten-year contract with Vistra Energy to receive resource adequacy capacity from a 20-MW/80-MWh battery energy storage project that will allow the 165 MW fuel oil-fired Oakland Power Plant to close.  The contract is part of the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative, a plan developed earlier to replace […]

The Buzz

23 May

California faces tighter power supplies, the California Public Utilities Commission warns, and the greater Los Angeles area can look forward to tight natural gas supplies again this summer. The CPUC’s top safety official tells lawmakers the commission is ill-equipped to determine whether billions of dollars of wildfire safety measures outlined in utility plans will actually reduce […]

More Fallout from Shoddy Gas Lines in SoCal

23 May

The greater Los Angeles area faces another summer that could be plagued by tight natural gas supplies and price hikes for power generators due to ongoing gas transmission line outages and limits on the use of the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. June looks to be the tightest month for gas supplies, […]

State Faces Tighter Power Supplies, CPUC Warns

23 May

California is becoming increasingly dependent on out-of-state power to meet peak needs. At the same time, concerns about the state’s increasing vulnerability to the  exercise of “market power,” which could spike prices, is rising, according to a California Public Utilities Commission official. “There’s a general tightening of resource adequacy supply,” Simon Baker, Energy Division deputy […]

Climate Roundup: House Democrat Eyes Clean Energy Funding

22 May

The House Energy & Commerce Committee this week began work on advancing the “LIFT America Act,” which calls for spending $33 billion on clean energy programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. “All of these investments will help us take an important step in combating the climate crisis, while also […]

Bankruptcy Watch: PG&E Wildfire Housing Fund Okayed

22 May

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Francisco May 22 approved a $105 million Pacific Gas & Electric assistance fund to support those displaced by the Northern California wildfires in 2017 and the 2018 Camp Fire. The fund is being authorized by the court after CalFire found earlier this month that the utility caused the Camp […]

Official Says CPUC is Ill-Prepared on Wildfire Safety

22 May

The California Public Utilities Commission will act blindly when it approves massive wildfire mitigation plans filed by power utilities that were called for by state lawmakers, the commission’s top safety official said this week. “There is no standard or framework for the CPUC to evaluate these plans,” Elizaveta Malashenko, CPUC executive director for safety and […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Focus on Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology

21 May

Updated May 22. A U.S. Senate panel heard encouraging news about the advance of renewable power and energy efficiency this week despite the ongoing drum beat in Washington about the need to preserve coal power plants and drill for more oil. Wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of power over the next […]

Undercurrents: Corrosion Named Culprit in Aliso Canyon Leak

21 May

An investigation into the root cause of the massive 2015-16 methane leak at the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility found the direct cause was a rupture of the outer 7-inch well casing due to microbial corrosion from the outside because of contact with groundwater. The report, released May 17 by the California […]

Shorts

21 May

Updated May 23. Pacific Gas & Electric is planning to rebuild power distribution lines underground in Paradise, the utility announced May 23. It has not yet developed a cost estimate for the work. Putting the electric wires underground is expected to take five years. In the interim, overhead lines will be built to provide temporary […]

Juice: Trump’s Job Killing Machine

20 May

California energy utilities, community choice aggregators, and power generators must actively support state officials who are fighting a move by the Trump Administration to freeze automotive emissions control standards aimed at cutting greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants. At stake are years of planning efforts and billions of dollars of investments to ready the grid for […]

The Buzz

9 May

Lawmakers may need to create a $40 billion wildfire risk pooled insurance fund plus take other actions to deal with crushing wildfire liabilities and expenses faced by utilities as large power rate increases loom. Amid rising revenue, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes budget boosts for the CPUC and grants to help communities plan for power shutoffs […]