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Coalition Fights Back on Building Decarbonization

20 Aug

Opponents of the drive to electrify buildings and end the use of natural gas for space and water heating and cooking rallied at the state capitol Aug. 20. They called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to support what they called “affordable clean energy solutions” instead of driving toward “all-electric” buildings. “California is in the middle of […]

Juice: EV Sales Rising

20 Aug

The many Teslas I see driving down I-5 to San Diego are sleek, shiny, and new. Whatever you think about blunt-smoking Elon Musk, there’s little doubt he’s made cars that solve many of the problems that long hampered the advance of the electric vehicle. Now, his work—and that of many others in the auto industry—have […]

PG&E Stock Falls Further After Legal Ruling

20 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric’s stock remained in the dumps Aug. 20 after a federal bankruptcy court Aug. 16 lifted a freeze on some $18 billion in claims stemming from the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County. While CalFire found the devastating fire, which swept through Santa Rosa, was caused by private electrical equipment rather than […]

News Analysis: As PG&E Retreats Others Fill the Void

19 Aug

By Fereidoon P. Sioshansi To avoid wildfire lawsuits utilities are driving customers to self-generation and storage. For the second time in its long history, Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest investor-owned utility, is under bankruptcy protection. Both times, you might say, the company fell on hard times not because of what it did but because […]

The Buzz

8 Aug

Two of California’s major utilities show reasonable profits in their second quarter results and bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric says it expects to show a profit when it releases its financial results. Meanwhile, independent power generators post largely ho hum financial statements, although NextEra stands out with earnings that shine. In a sign of better […]

Microgrids Can Create Community Energy Resilience

8 Aug

Microgrids offer increasing promise in making communities resilient to climate change by providing electricity for critical facilities during power outages or when utilities turn off power lines to prevent wildfires, researchers and community leaders told the California Energy Commission Aug. 8. They spoke to CEC members during a workshop this week on making the state’s […]

Dairy Biogas Project Begins Delivering RNG

8 Aug

Calgren late last month finished work on the largest dairy biogas operation in the nation and will begin supplying SoCal Gas with renewable natural gas to help fill its pipelines later this year. At its new facility in Pixley in Tulare County, Calgren began collecting and gasifying manure from four dairies and plans to expand […]

Lawmakers to Deal with Wildfire Power Shutoff Fallout

7 Aug

When lawmakers return to Sacramento next week, they’ll face key votes on energy legislation dealing with how to provide backup power to meet critical community needs when power lines are shut down to prevent wildfires. Power shutoffs when winds blow can hamper crucial facilities, like water and communications systems, and affect the ability of residents […]

Generator Earnings Generally Muted

6 Aug

Updated Aug. 8. Independent generators with operations in California showed mixed results in the second quarter of 2019, though NextEra enjoyed a major boost in net income. Here is a summary of their latest earnings reports. AES: This Virginia-based global energy company earned $17 million in the second quarter of 2019, or 2 cents a […]

Climate Roundup: State Strikes Deal with Automakers on GHGs

6 Aug

State officials and top automakers late last month agreed on a voluntary framework for continuing to reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. The pact came as the Trump Administration is preparing to freeze standards at existing emissions levels and revoke the right of California to set its own emissions standards that are tighter than federal requirements. […]

Undercurrents: Efficiency Funds Allowed for Building Decarbonization

5 Aug

California utility regulators last week opened the door for using $1 billion a year of energy efficiency program money to retrofit homes and buildings to shift from natural gas to electricity for space and water heating and other uses. “This means there is now a clear path to roll out new programs that include efficient […]

California IOU Earnings in the Black

5 Aug

California investor-owned utilities showed profits during the second quarter this year, as PG&E announced ahead of its quarterly earnings statement it hopes to deliver shareholder returns even while it’s in bankruptcy. California energy companies credited Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers for creating a new wildfire liability insurance fund for state utilities earlier this summer, […]

Shorts

5 Aug

Moody’s Investors Service upgraded San Diego Gas & Electric from a negative to a positive outlook July 31 based on improved fire safety programs at the utility and enactment of AB 1054, which sets up a new utility wildfire insurance fund. In a statement, the utility said it “has invested about $1.5 billion in a […]

CA Current Will Be on Summer Break Beginning July 19. Story Posting Will Resume the Week of Aug. 5.

18 Jul

     

The Buzz

18 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking its two-week summer break beginning today, July 19. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 5. The California Public Utilities Commission gets a new President after Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Marybel Batjer to the post this week. Batjer will take over an agency that has lost much […]

Inside the Beltway: Committees Advance Energy Bills

17 Jul

The full House Energy & Commerce Committee approved 10 energy-related bills July 17 aimed at advancing energy efficiency and energy sector employment and also making energy infrastructure more impervious to cyberattacks. “These bills tackle the climate crisis head-on by ensuring our homes, schools and buildings emit less carbon pollution, and by investing in our state […]

Berkeley Moves to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

17 Jul

The Berkeley City Council the evening of July 16 voted to phase-out gas hookups for new homes built in the city beginning next year. The council will have to take a second vote on the amendment to its building code before the requirement becomes local law. Natural gas use in buildings, according to a memo […]

Lithium Battery Recycling Needed, Senators Told

17 Jul

As demand for lithium ion batteries grows with the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid cars, how to handle spent batteries is a growing concern, the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee heard on July 17. “The global market for electric vehicles is expected to rise in coming years,” said Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), […]

Juice: Batjer Takes Over Mistrusted Agency

16 Jul

Marybel Batjer will have a tough row to hoe when she takes over as president of the California Public Utilities Commission later this summer. She will lead the commission at a time of uncertainty as it faces flagging credibility with the public and lawmakers. She also will inherit an agency that faces a diminishing role […]

Undercurrents: School Buses Going Electric

16 Jul

The California Energy Commission awarded $70 million July 15 to replace 200 old diesel school buses with all-electric buses at schools throughout the state. “Making the transition to electric school buses that don’t emit pollution provides children and their communities with cleaner air and numerous public health benefits,” said Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan. The electric […]