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Power Line Fire Safety Bills Gain Ground

23 Apr

Energy-related legislation continued to move ahead in the state Senate April 23, with two measures clearing the Natural Resources & Water Committee. SB 247 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) won approval by the panel on a 9-0 vote. Dodd’s measure would put CalFire in charge of auditing compliance with California Public Utilities Commission vegetation management […]

Edison Seeks Higher Rates Due to Wildfire Risk

23 Apr

Southern California Edison asked the California Public Utilities Commission April 22 to grant it a rate boost that would increase the average residential power bill by $12.20 cents a month to help cover wildfire risk. The move comes after the company posted losses at the end of last year in the face of wildfire liability […]

Shorts

23 Apr

East Bay Community Energy April 23 launched a new grant program that will provide up to $40,000 to applicants for energy-related projects that deliver local benefits to targeted communities in areas such as job creation, workforce development, economic empowerment, and climate and social resilience. Eligible projects will include community-shared solar, energy conservation retrofits, workforce development […]

Central Procurement Bill Advances After Being Narrowed

23 Apr

An Assembly committee April 22 approved two key pieces of legislation, including a bill to establish a state-run backstop power procurement program and another to order state energy officials to investigate recent or future natural gas price spikes. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed AB 56 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) on a 6-2 vote. […]

Undercurrents: Gas Prices to Remain Low

22 Apr

Natural gas will remain plentiful and reasonably priced in California through 2030, according to an analysis presented to the California Energy Commission April 22. Ample natural gas supplies from both Western Canada and the Permian Basin in Texas—which are connected to California by interstate pipelines—will keep prices lower in the Golden State than at Henry […]

The Buzz

18 Apr

A group of West Coast utilities launches a major study of how to develop and locate charging infrastructure for electric big rig trucks. Federal energy regulators approve two LNG export projects, but the decisions omit their greenhouse gas impacts. Subsequently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2018 market report shows record U.S natural gas exports, while […]

Newsom Calls for Wildfire Liability Reform

12 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom April 12 called on lawmakers to pass a legislative reform package to deal with the growing threat of wildfires, calling measures adopted to date “inadequate.” “We all have a burden and responsibility to meet the costs,” said Newsom. “We’re all in this together.” In a long and at times rambling press conference, […]

The Buzz

11 Apr

Southern California Edison asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a 28 percent boost in its revenue requirement for transmission assets, saying that wildfire-related expenses justify the increase. In Sacramento, a bill to set up a centralized backstop power purchaser clears a committee, but lawmakers have reservations about changing the existing order. Another bill to […]

Assembly Committee Okays Energy Info Bills

11 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved several measures aimed at providing more public information on energy prices April 10. Bills approved by the panel included: AB 1799 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), to require the California Energy Commission to form a task force to delve into recent natural gas price volatility, which boosted the […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Spotlight Efficiency & Global Warming

11 Apr

The House Energy & Commerce Committee during an April 10 hearing discussed eight bills aimed at advancing energy efficiency in buildings and helping blue collar workers transition to green collar jobs. “Efficiency work supports thousands of good-paying jobs at small businesses in every state,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who chairs the committee. “The eight […]

Lawmakers Lukewarm on Central Procurement Bill

10 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 10 backed legislation to establish a central authority to serve as the state’s chief backstop power purchasing agent, but only after watering it down because of stiff opposition. Before this week’s hearing, Southern California Edison, publicly owned utilities, community choice aggregators, and some environmental groups, opposed the measure […]

Bill Bolstering Distributed Resources Advances

10 Apr

Legislation to promote distributed generation and battery storage with more favorable tariffs and grid interconnection process streamlining advanced through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee April 10. It was approved despite opposition from public and investor-owned utilities. The panel also approved two bills aimed at minimizing wildfire risk from power lines. SB 288 cleared […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid Part 2

10 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy Editor’s Note: In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lorenzo Kristov and Mark Ferron, former CAISO board member, advocated for an “open access” distribution system and indicated that local planning increasingly is “where the action […]

PG&E Board Approves New Directors

9 Apr

Two days after announcing its new slate of directors in response to concerns about the direction of the company that entered bankruptcy protection because of huge wildfire liability claims, Pacific Gas & Electric’s board approved 10 new directors. Last week, PG&E also appointed as its chief executive officer and president, former head of the Tennessee […]

Shorts

9 Apr

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week became a fully operational member of the grid operator’s energy imbalance market. SMUD is the first municipal utility to join the short-term market, which the California Independent System Operator created in 2014 to better integrate renewable power into the grid and to lower the overall cost of power. […]

Public & Safety Advocates Vet Utility Wildfire Plans

9 Apr

Numerous organizations are urging utility regulators to carefully scrutinize the effectiveness of utility wildfire risk mitigation plans filed earlier this year. They also want them to clarify that any approval of the plans will not equate to okaying utility expenditures to carry them out. The Public Advocates Office stated in comments filed with the commission […]

Undercurrents: Electric Car Sales Show Strong Growth

9 Apr

Californians are buying electric vehicles at an increasing rate, according to sales data tracked by Veloz, a non-profit that aims to promote electric transportation. Sales of battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles totaled 13,736 last month. So far this year dealers have racked up 30,745 in total sales of such models, an increase […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

Shorts

2 Apr

Snow depth and snow water equivalent is 200 percent of average, or 51 inches, at the Department of Water Resources’ Sierra measuring station. DWR’s final snow survey for the season conducted April 2, also revealed that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 162 percent of average. “With full reservoirs and a dense snowpack, this year is practically […]

The Buzz

28 Mar

The California Independent System Operator adopts changes to its backstop procurement programs to address concerns they unnecessarily drive up costs. CAISO also adopts a new transmission plan, which shows only Pacific Gas & Electric needs to build new projects at a cost of up to $644 million to maintain reliability and control costs. Gov. Gavin […]