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The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

OPINIONATED: Setting the Record Straight on SMUD’s Community Solar

17 Mar

Editor’s Note: SMUD responds to criticism of its Solar Shares program raised in a March 2 editorial by local solar advocate Dave Rosenfeld. SMUD’s community solar program was approved by the California Energy Commission last month.  California’s 2019 Building Standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and included a requirement for the use of solar […]

State and Federal Meeting Updates during Covid-19 Pandemic

16 Mar

Updated Friday. Changes in italics. The following are the latest changes to previously scheduled meetings, in accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order limiting the number of people at gatherings, and local agency dictates. The California Public Utilities Commission cancelled all its public hearings on increasing electric rates pursuant to Phase One of Southern California […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

Opinionated: Boom in Electric Transportation Means SoCal Jobs

9 Mar

In the 1990s, Southern California was lamenting the demise of its once thriving auto industry. But the rise of electric transportation in recent years has created a new boom, according to a report  recently issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.. And with that boom comes jobs, according to the report, titled “Economic […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

The Buzz

14 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric offers its nuclear energy to community choice. But it is a hot potato, particularly for East Bay Clean Energy. Local green energy advocates give it a lot of heat for considering the matter. Bets are that extracting lithium from the steamy brine of geothermal plants in the mineral-rich Salton Sea will […]

Guest Juice: Is CA Trying to Kill the Community-Scale Generation Market?

10 Feb

The community-scale market segment has been plagued by ongoing policy neglect, and otherwise poor policy choices. Will policymakers heed the track record of demonstrated failure and finally create new programs that address previous problems? Ken Lund Flickr cc California, long a progressive leader on renewable energy and climate change mitigation, has neglected a key market […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

State energy regulators pay lip service to California’s mandate for the energy sector to be 100 percent clean and then approve the replacement of a 50-mile natural gas pipeline in San Diego. But, the Sempra utilities’ $677 million cost estimate for the project is to be examined. The House Energy & Commerce Committee takes aim […]

The Buzz

30 Jan

House Democrats produce a massive funding framework and bold climate neutral bill back to back.  Also midweek, increasing climate protection to thwart hotter and more intense wildfires is the focus of a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing. The chief of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. adds his two cents. The California grid operator continues […]

The Buzz

24 Jan

FERC member Bernard McNamee bids adieu to the agency. Whether to allow coastal power plants that use huge quantities of water to cool down is still at issue. Center stage are proposed extensions of the legal deadlines, set in 2010, for four plants along the Southern California coast. Under an agreement between Pacific Gas & […]

Guest Juice: Energy Storage Prospects Rise with Fall in Renewable Costs

20 Jan

By Wayne Hicks An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow—is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it’s also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it’s needed. Declining costs in available technologies have propelled interest in energy storage forward like never […]

The Buzz

16 Jan

State energy regulators give Southern California Edison the green light to collect $4.7 billion for projected 2020 energy costs during their first meeting of the year. The California Public Utilities Commission also votes unanimously to dedicate most of the Self Generation Incentive Program rebates to energy storage in fire-stressed communities. In addition, the commission approves […]

The Buzz

9 Jan

The start of the New Year brings bold federal and state clean energy and equity measures. It also brings closer a looming deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric. There is a huge push to get PG&E out of bankruptcy by the end of June. Meeting that deadline will allow it to access the multi-billion dollar […]