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The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

Juice: Beyond Diesel Backup Generation and Blackouts

28 Apr

The use of clean-fueled microgrids to keep power flowing to vulnerable people and critical services—from safety to water supply—during upcoming fires and outages was the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the talk led to little action on installing these types of projects in high fire threat areas in California before wildfires start this year. Pacific […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

The Buzz

17 Apr

State energy regulators unanimously agree to minor reductions in the bills of the ratepayers of the state’s two largest utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission votes for this no cost step advancing the climate dividend to alleviate financial pressures caused by the fallout of COVID 19. This dividend is often called a “climate credit.” While […]

California’s Climate “Credit” for Dummies

14 Apr

Editor’s Note: This is the third of a new Current series explaining the fundamentals of energy terms. With it, we hope to pull back the curtain on terms of art used in California utility regulation. Updated April 16 Residential ratepayers of California’s two largest utilities are set to receive roughly $36 of climate “credit” on […]

The Buzz

9 Apr

The Energy Commission approves city ordinances that beat state building efficiency rules. It applauds California cities working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The Commission also continues to dole out millions of dollars in grants at its first remote business meeting to promote cleaner food and beer production, offshore wind, renewable gas and safer natural […]

The Behind-The-Meter Frontier

9 Apr

Your home could also be your power plant, according to an April 7 article in Wired Magazine. It highlights a community housing project in Colorado that’s experimenting with advanced software that tracks the units’ solar power and directs it to where it’s needed—relaying it from those with surplus PV output to those that need more […]

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 […]