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The Buzz

15 Jun

Grid regionalization is back on the legislative agenda in Sacramento. A freshly amended bill apparently would implode the state’s renewable portfolio standard program. Interest in the hydrogen highway heats up in both California and Washington. This week’s Juice column finds that the cost of electric power is a key barrier to hydrogen energy right now, […]

Grid Regionalization Bill May Upend CA Renewables

14 Jun

New amendments to legislation that would allow the California Independent System Operator to become a multi-state grid operator set off a behind-the-scenes uproar in the state capitol. AB 813 by Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) was revised June 12, generating considerable confusion and drawing immediate opposition from some. The revised measure, […]

Energy Commission Awards Funding for Clean Energy Projects

13 Jun

The California Energy Commission June 13 voted in favor of more than $28 million in grants to advance microgrids to provide local energy and backup power, increase energy efficiency and increase the sources of clean hydrogen fuel. Approved on a 4-0 vote was a $4 million grant to support building a 5,000 kilogram/per day renewable […]

DOE Aims to Roll Back Hurdles to Hydrogen Infrastructure

13 Jun

The U.S. Department of Energy opened an inquiry June 13 to identify and reduce regulatory barriers to the advancement of hydrogen energy infrastructure. In a request for information, the department asked hydrogen energy stakeholders to provide their ideas on “priority research and development areas for reducing regulatory barriers to deployment of hydrogen technologies.” DOE said […]

“Vulture Capitalist” Pushes for Sale of Sempra Assets

12 Jun

Will Sempra Energy suffer a fate similar to NRG? The same two private investment firms bought up a substantial number of shares of the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas and are trying to force a sale of assets to generate cash, like they successfully did with NRG. The equivalent […]

Shorts

12 Jun

Ancillary service scarcities in the state’s real time power market are increasing, the California Independent System Operator noted June 11. Since March, the uptick has been notable, according to grid operator data. While shortages occurred in 2016 and 2017, scarcities from March through May of this year are running at more than double the rate […]

JUICE: Cruising the Hydrogen Highway

11 Jun

Fuel cell vehicles, powered by hydrogen made from water and renewable power, have long been the Holy Grail when it comes to creating a clean energy economy. After decades of effort to push the technology toward commercial reality, fuel cell vehicles are beginning to gain traction with car-makers, energy companies, state officials, and most importantly […]

PG&E Stock Hit by Mounting Potential Fire Liability

11 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric shares took a beating June 11 after CalFire revealed last Friday that the utility’s power lines were involved in starting 12 more wildfires north of San Francisco last fall. Increasing liability for PG&E is that CalFire alleged the utility violated state fire protection standards in eight of those blazes. Earlier this […]

PG&E Seeks Rate Case Filing Delay Because of Liability Unknowns

6 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric took the unprecedented step of asking energy regulators to give it an additional four months to file its upcoming general rate case because of fears of massive liability for last October’s wildfires, some of which were sparked by trees hitting utility equipment. “The 2017 Northern California wildfires have created tremendous uncertainty […]

Voters Reject 2/3 Voting Mandate for Cap-&-Trade

6 Jun

A ballot proposal aimed at constraining spending of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue money went down in defeat June 5. It would have required a super-majority vote by the Legislature in 2024, in place of a majority vote, to spend cap-and-trade funds. Californians voted the measure down, with 63.6 percent opposing Proposition 70 and […]

PG&E Belatedly Moves on Biomass Deals

5 Jun

At the end of last week, state regulators were urged to prod utilities, particularly Pacific Gas & Electric, to sign requisite agreements with developers of small facilities that convert dead and dying trees into energy. “It is vital that we not close the door on these bioenergy endeavors,” Regine Miller told the California Public Utilities […]

Juice: Picker’s Picks

5 Jun

Editor’s note: Like Grateful Dead archivist Dick Latvala “picked” the band’s most energetic concerts for release as albums in his “Dick’s Picks” recordings, California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker picks the best resources to release energy to the Los Angeles basin’s grid to keep the area rockin’. A proposed decision to deny Southern California […]

Shorts

4 Jun

Updated June 7. Utility regulators held a two-day meeting this week on how to potentially redesign electricity rates to accommodate an increasing number of electric vehicles in the coming years. The meeting on June 7 and 8 also focused on how to address rate design to encourage production of hydrogen to power fuel cell vehicles. […]

CPUC Approves $8B in Energy Efficiency Plans

31 May

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved an $8 billion cap on rolling energy efficiency business programs covering eight years. The decision approving the efficiency business plans covers those of the four investor-owned utilities, Marin Clean Energy, the Bay Area Regional Energy Network, the Southern California Regional Energy Network and the Tri-County Regional Energy Network. […]

CEC Framework to Promote Clean Energy in Low-Income Homes

31 May

A May 30 workshop at the California Energy Commission zeroed in on a developing a plan for increasing access to energy efficiency and solar upgrades for low-income housing residents, including those in multifamily units. CEC discussed its plan the day before the California Public Utilities Commission was slated to  vote on a decision to bolster […]

Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

JUICE: Dousing the Flames

29 May

Like pleading the 5th, controversial news announcements made late on Fridays are automatically suspect. End of the week releases are notorious for attempting to bury the news, be it an unpopular vote, poor earnings, and/or action that violates legal and/or regulatory requirements. Just before the start of this last three-day Memorial Day Weekend, CalFire quietly […]

Shorts

29 May

Updated May 31. Utility regulators voted to shorten the timelines for correcting utility line and pole safety violations under California Public Utilities Commission General Order 95 Rule 18. Under the May 31 CPUC decision, the allowable time for correcting violations will be cut from 59 to 36 months. In addition, one class of minor violations […]

CARB Takes Heat on Excess Carbon Allowances

24 May

Concerns about excess allowances in California’s carbon cap-and-trade program and how they may impact the state’s ability to reach its 2030 greenhouse reduction  goal were aired this week in the state capitol. During a May 24 hearing of the Joint Legislative Committee on Climate Change Policies, the question of whether extra allowances in the market […]

Undercurrents

22 May

A modeling tool aimed at helping optimize where to install electric vehicle chargers, the type—level one or two charges—and how many was the focus of a May 22 workshop at the California Energy Commission. The developing model’s focus is to understand the EV market to increase the efficient use of public investments in chargers. “We […]