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Increasing Electrification Shakes Up Demand Forecasting

26 Sep

Utility industry changes are putting to the test the California Energy Commission’s 40-year old demand forecasting. Forecasters need to figure out how to reshape demand given the state’s high electrification future, including its effect on distribution planning, demand and supply interactions, customer choice and long term investment scenarios, Commissioner Andrew McAllister said at the Sept. […]

Federal Alternative Energy Bills Advance

25 Sep

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee Sept. 25 forwarded to the U.S. Senate legislation focused on energy storage, energy efficiency, and industrial emissions reductions. The measures “can serve as the bipartisan pillars of a robust energy package centered on innovation and efficiency,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AL), Committee chair. Among the measures advanced […]

Trump Throws Down Clean Air Act Gauntlet

18 Sep

President Donald Trump is expected to follow through with his threat and revoke California’s Clean Air Act waiver Sept. 18. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded that he would see the Trump Administration in court. The Administration “has no basis and no authority to pull this waiver,” Becerra said Sept. 17. He told the president, […]

Vanishing Renewable Premium

16 Sep

The green premium has disappeared in Texas and the same will happen in California and elsewhere By Fereidoon Sioshansi Environmentally conscious consumers traditionally had to pay a premium to get clean kilowatt/hours. They’ve been typically offered as a “premium” product by the suppliers: the higher the renewable content, the greener the electrons and higher the […]

Shorts

9 Sep

Updated Sept. 12. A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks to improve reliability and drive down greenhouse gases from the energy sector. It was released just after the CPUC’s Sept. 12  business meeting. The proposed decision directs private utilities, community choice aggregators and direct access providers to buy 2,500 MW  to ensure power flow reliability […]

CPUC President Headed Out the Door

30 May

California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker announced he will be retiring as early as the beginning of July of this year. The often rumpled Picker quipped that initially he thought he’d postpone leaving the commission until he was forced to buy a new business suit. Instead, Picker said he would leave the agency following […]

Shorts

29 Apr

Updated May 2 On a 36-0 vote, the State Senate confirmed Commissioner David Hochschild to the California Energy Commission May 2. He was appointed the chair of the agency by Gov. Gavin Newsom in February, replacing outgoing Chair Bob Weisenmiller. “Taking the helm of the Commission is both a great honor and responsibility during this […]

Shorts

5 Feb

Updated Feb. 6 Federal legislation to repeal the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles was introduced Feb. 6. It also would require that EV drivers pay into the Highway Trust Fund.  The “Fairness for Every Driver Act” was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works chair, and […]

Undercurrents: Drawing the Unaffordable vs. Affordable Rate Line

22 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission took its first step towards getting its arms around the cumulative impacts of its decisions on financially struggling ratepayers. “There is a lot of stake in this proceeding,” said Cliff Rechtschaffen, presiding commissioner, during the Jan. 22 CPUC workshop. He said at issue are the safety, reliability and affordability of […]

CPUC Directs Shareholders Pay IOU Bonuses, Approves SDG&E Budgets

13 Dec

State energy regulators’ Dec. 13 signed off on a decision requiring that executive bonuses paid to private utility executives, which are in excess of $1 million, be paid by shareholders, not ratepayers. The change is required by the new wildfire liability legislation, SB 901, which was enacted in September. This new California Public Utilities Commission […]

JUICE: Election Results in the Wild West

7 Nov

Nov. 8 Editor’s Note: We will update the results when they are final, but California Democrats may have won up to six Republican House seats. Voters in California and neighboring states provided mixed messages on promoting and funding climate protection this midterm election. As of press time, Golden State voters may have replaced up to […]

JUICE: Eyes Wide Shut on Wildfire Liability Bill

11 Sep

Lawmakers promised a transparent process for the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dealing with liability for utility-sparked wildfires fueled by multi-year drought, legions of dead and dying trees and higher temperatures. Yet, the final provisions and costs of SB 901 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) were anything but transparent. Transparent is defined as “free […]

OPINIONATED: Oil vs. Electricity?

4 Sep

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Oil vs. electricity is an odd comparison. The two are separate and unrelated forms of energy–with the possible exception of a few places where oil is still burned to generate electricity, such as in Saudi Arabia. While most people acknowledge the disproportionate dominance of oil relative to electricity in terms of supplying […]

CPUC Adopts 2019 Resource Adequacy Determinations

21 Jun

In a move that breaks years of impasse over how to assure local resource adequacy, the California Public Utilities Commission June 21 signaled its intent to require multi-year resource adequacy procurement. It also noted it would seriously entertain creating a central purchasing agent for resource adequacy. The commission won’t make those revisions in its resource […]

Bill Extends Energy Storage Incentive

21 Jun

After approving legislation setting parameters on utility wildfire risks, the Assembly energy panel passed a bill that would add another five years to the program offering incentives to behind-the-meter small energy storage systems. SB 700 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would extend the small energy storage subsidy under the Self Generation Incentive Program. This […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

Clean Tech: The Next Energy Efficiency Frontier: Labs

6 Jun

With the largest population and economy in the nation, California has more laboratories than any other state, boasting some 116 million square feet of energy-gobbling scientific space. Labs represent “the next major frontier in energy efficiency,” Allison Paradise of My Green Lab and Alison Farmer of kW Engineering told the California Energy Commission during a […]

Undercurrents

12 Apr

The Natural Resources Agency was urged to alter its climate adaptation work to focus less on fighting climate-driven disasters, such as wildfires, and more on helping prevent climate change impacts, during an April 11 Senate Environmental Quality Committee hearing. “We know we have dead trees and poor soil management in forests,” said Committee Chair Bob […]

JUICE: Not Seeing the Forest for the EVs

10 Apr

Gov. Jerry Brown is myopically focused on advancing electric and other zero emission cars. He proposes a big funding increase for electric automobile infrastructure at the expense of other valuable clean energy programs in his 2018-19 state budget plan now under debate. The proposed spending increase for electric cars comes out of the hide of […]

PG&E Proposes Small Rate Cut, But Bigger Costs Elsewhere

2 Apr

Pacific Gas & Electric March 30 asked the California Public Utilities Commission to shave millions of dollars from its revenues this year under three separate rate cases, including two that were previously approved, to account for the financial benefit it’s reaping from the 2017 federal tax act. Overall, the utility expects a tax benefit under […]