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The Buzz

21 Jul

The more things change, the more they don’t stay the same, Mike Picker, California’s head utility energy regulator tells a legislative panel. That includes the greening of the state’s energy supplies causing a flux in the grid, but with less impact than expected. In greater flux is the fate of the proposed Puente power plant […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

Opinionated: NREL at 40-It Started With a Desire to Harness the Sun

11 Jul

By Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier that the […]

The Buzz

7 Jul

Taking the “dis” out of disadvantaged communities was center stage for lawmakers and regulators this week.  Reversing the trend of rising climate emissions and co-pollutants in poor local neighborhoods was the focus of a joint legislative Climate Change Policy panel.  Meanwhile, the CPUC zeroed in on making environmental justice  energy programs just. The Utilities & […]

JUICE: China & CA Build the World We Want

3 Jul

Early in this decade, China was busy pursuing a plan to maximize its coal resources by building giant “coal bases” in its inland areas where the mineral is mined. I detailed the plan in a series of articles for Inside Climate News in 2014. China aimed to use its vast coal deposits, widely viewed as […]

The Buzz

30 Jun

Fireworks will have to wait until next week’s holiday as there were barely sparklers at the California Public Utilities Commission this week. Regulators okayed moving to revise or redo the unpopular charge on community choice aggregators said to spread out the cost of utility ratepayer departures. Some sparks were generated by the CPUC’s approval of […]

JUICE: The Art of Emissions Warfare

28 Jun

Bay Area air regulators last week backed away from fighting the oil lobby head on. They did not vote to cap regional oil refineries’ greenhouse gas emissions as promised. The move surely was in response to pressure from the governor who doesn’t want a direct confrontation with the powerful oil industry while pushing legislation to […]

The Buzz

22 Jun

Cap-less in San Francisco is this week’s key feature. Bay Area air regulators rejected approving a first-in-the-nation ceiling on regional oil refineries’ greenhouse gas emissions because it would allow a big increase in climate change pollution.  The proposed cap before the board was significantly revised the day before the June 21 meeting, resulting in a […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]

The Buzz

16 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission adopted this week requirements for gas utilities to reduce methane leaks and improve worker training. The approval of “best practices” to control methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that’s also explosive, counters a recent move by the federal government to reverse similar requirements set by the Obama Administration. In the state […]

Large Battery Projects Soar in CA, Small Ones Struggle

15 Jun

Someone’s loss is another’s gain extends to the emerging energy storage market in California. The closure of the massive Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field caused the energy storage market in the state to take off. Despite California’s mandate that private utilities procure a total of 1,325 MW of energy storage by 2020, the state’s […]

The Buzz

9 Jun

Legislation to expand the carbon cap-and-trade program was waylaid by an oil slick of campaign contributions to Assembly Democrats.  Thus, the life span of a key Senate cap-and-trade bill looks as promising as an oiled bird. Also floundering in the current is Senate legislation that seeks to thwart refilling the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage […]

JUICE: The Carbon Goose-n-Gander

7 Jun

Key bills expanding the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program failed to make it to the other side of the Legislature after last-minute vote changes on a controversial measure on the Assembly floor. Considerable political capital has been expended on extending the scope of the California Air Resources Board’s greenhouse gas trading program beyond 2020—including campaign contributions, […]

The Buzz

2 Jun

During hours-long floor sessions, lawmakers advanced several energy bills, including ones setting a 100 percent renewables requirement, cutting in half the number of electric utility shutoffs due to non-payment of bills, and creating an energy storage equivalent of the California Solar Initiative. Around the time Prez Trump dumped the Paris Climate deal, San Francisco Bay […]

SF Bay Area Refineries Face Hard Emissions Cap

1 Jun

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District appears poised to cap greenhouse gas emissions from the region’s five oil refineries, the area’s largest stationary source of carbon gases. The caps on individual refinery carbon emissions are to be the first in the state and nation. “Today’s action by the Air District Board demonstrates local leadership, […]

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 […]

Trump’s Sale of WAPA & BPA Lines is a Lead Balloon

23 May

The Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget, released May 23, puts a for sale sign on federally-owned power lines in the West. However, selling the transmission assets of the Western Area Power Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Southwestern Power Administration will face major resistance from federal lawmakers from the West and Northwest. Carl […]

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 […]