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The Buzz

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric fails to garner an extra $1.5 billion for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, as the CPUC stands by an administrative law judge’s decision. FERC moves a bit closer to a quorum as a Senate panel holds a hearing on President Trump’s nominees. In a report that’s, well, quite predictable, CARB […]

The Buzz

19 May

The wide selection of brands of peanut butter and other consumer products up and down the state is not questioned. But electricity choice is, at least by state regulators. They question community choice’s impact on the traditional utility business model, and even the state’s climate protection efforts. Elsewhere, community energy is assumed to be the […]

SCE Labor Practices Impact Rates & Safety, Union Says

17 May

Southern California Edison’s 2018-2020 rate case has become embroiled in a labor dispute in which a major union says it’s been locked out of contracting jobs with the utility, which are on the upswing as the company focuses on improving its aging distribution system. Enhancing the safety of its distribution system, in which equipment failures […]

The Buzz

12 May

California utility regulators open a proceeding to examine rules for putting overhead power lines communities find objectionable underground. They also back an 11 percent rate hike for Pacific Gas & Electric in action on the utility’s general rate case. A bill calling for 100 percent renewable power in the Golden State by 2045 glides through […]

Opinionated: The Energy Efficiency Conundrum

9 May

By Todd Edmister In its well-intentioned efforts to address climate change in SB 350, the California Legislature mandated that state investor-owned utilities “double” energy savings cost-effectively by 2030. The fly in the ointment here is that SB 350’s new “doubling” requirement rests atop long-established legislation already requiring private utilities to obtain “all available energy efficiency […]

Guest Juice: DOE Grid “Study”: Politics Trump Facts

1 May

By John Moore Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has directed his agency to conduct a hurried review of how environmental protection standards and clean energy incentives are apparently threatening to bring our power grid to its knees. That action shows either a lack of understanding as to how grid operators (including the one back in […]

The Buzz

28 Apr

More batteries and other energy storage technologies are not at the top of the California Public Utilities Commission’s list.  In a ruling on CA’s energy storage mandate, initially set at 1,325 MW by 2020 and then boosted by another 500 MW last year, a CPUC decision focuses on reaching only the initial goal. The private […]

JUICE: Downsizing Gas Power

25 Apr

The day of reckoning is nigh for gas-fired power in California. A growing oversupply of power—created by California’s race to build renewable power plants— has depressed wholesale electricity prices to the point that operators often can’t bring in enough money to run gas plants day-to-day, much less cover the major maintenance work needed to keep […]

JUICE: CA’s Stellar Energy

18 Apr

California’s head energy regulator went to Washington, D.C., last month to encourage Federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy scientists to come work for the Golden State to advance clean energy. His trip was in response to the Trump Administration’s move in the opposite direction. Part of Trump’s anti-clean energy plan includes slashing the […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

Edison Tells Investors EV Charging is Big Business

12 Apr

One of California’s biggest electric utilities is banking on a growing number of electric vehicles on the state’s highways to provide  a business growth opportunity over the coming decade. In an April 12 briefing for investment banks, Southern California Edison executives outlined a growing need for both grid modernization to meet electric vehicle charging demand […]

JUICE: Trump & CA’s Clean Energy House

5 Apr

President Donald Trump’s growling about climate-friendly federal laws, rules and programs could be worse than his greenhouse gas emissions bite to California’s climate protection efforts, at least in the short term. But, threatened financial chomps are a concern with the possible slashing of federal funding for state renewable energy programs and low-income energy assistance. Sharp […]

The Buzz

30 Mar

California environmental regulators are creating a big profitable opportunity for electric utilities to get into the transportation fuel business by reaffirming the state’s auto fuel efficiency standards while Washington marches in the opposite direction. State lawmakers advanced a handful of energy bills this week, from trying to encourage more renewable energy to serve peak load […]

Guest Juice: California Energy Efficiency Dreamin’

30 Mar

By Cynthia Mitchell In the 1990s, California led the nation in deregulating its electric utility industry. The result was a disaster. The subsequent energy crisis during 2000 and 2001 was characterized by extraordinarily high prices and blackouts. Re-regulation included proclaiming energy efficiency as the state’s highest priority[i]  “first loading order resource”[ii] based upon three decades […]

The Buzz

24 Mar

California’s last nuke is set to close in the middle of the next decade, but around the same time a muni up in Truckee may be importing nuclear power.  The little Tahoe Donner Public Utility District is to soon ask its customers if they want nuclear power from a new project in Idaho consisting of […]

JUICE: Sugar Daddies

21 Mar

The controversy over the 20-year utility contract for the coastal Puente power plant near Ventura is the tip of California’s excess gas power plant iceberg. Take a look at the California Energy Commission’s recent analysis highlighting how infrequently the power plants along the coast have been used. Last year, several facilities seldom ran. California’s overloaded […]

The Buzz

16 Mar

Carbon emissions and taxes are not the only skunks at the picnic. So too is California’s carbon cap-and-trade. But, the tax skunk has redeeming qualities, including clear price signals, market certainty and less complexity, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst tells an Assembly Budget Committee. While that committee debated the controversial cap-and-trade program, another legislative panel approved […]

Guest Juice: Energy Efficiency as a Distributed Resource

15 Mar

Editor’s Note: This is a second in a series of articles on how California counts on energy efficiency to help meet state greenhouse gas reduction and clean energy goals while serving as a meaningful distributed energy resource alongside of rooftop solar, energy storage, and demand response.[1] By Cynthia Mitchell As California’s “first loading order resource,” […]

The Buzz

10 Mar

Realizing the full potential of energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gases and make California’s energy supply cleaner will require new thinking that makes negawatts as attractive to investors as megawatts, writes economist Cynthia Mitchell in this week’s Guest Juice column. Ocean water use to cool the state’s aged coastal power plants has declined much faster […]

Guest Juice: The Role of Energy Efficiency in State Climate Change Policy

10 Mar

By Cynthia Mitchell Introduction California is counting on energy efficiency to help meet state greenhouse gas reduction goals and as a meaningful distributed energy resource alongside rooftop solar, energy storage, and demand response. And, as California’s “first loading order resource,”[1] efficiency is to help with much needed utility rate relief. There’s a growing number of […]