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State Regulators Face Solar Dilemma

3 Nov

Monday’s kickoff of California’s long-awaited proceeding to update net energy metering highlighted regulators’ dilemma of how to grow solar resources without shifting system costs to customers who don’t own solar energy projects. Nationally, hopes are high that California’s proceeding will offer breakthrough solutions to the troublesome successor tariff complexities that have emerged in other states […]

The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

Shorts

1 Apr

The East Bay Community Energy is directing $1.5 million toward community relief efforts in Alameda County, it announced April 2. EBCE’s CEO Nick Chaset told the management team to identify “opportunities in the current budget to repurpose as contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts.” The efforts will be tracked at: https://ebce.org/covid The Salt River Project and […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved a Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s community solar program. The Feb. 20 approval was based on the Energy Commission’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which allow community solar in place of PV roof tops on new single family homes. “We expected that the marketplace and stakeholders would find solutions appropriate for […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

The Buzz

15 Nov

California air regulators take initial steps on cap-and-trade program revisions to double greenhouse gas cuts in the decade ahead. The same day, a report is released that pushes land management changes to slash greenhouse gases in California. That includes improved forestry and woodlands management, slower conversion of natural lands and greener agriculture. At the nation’s […]

JUICE: CA May Have to Hold & Fold in Auto Standards Game

3 Apr

In a MAGA moment, The Trump Administration moved to weaken federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and pickup trucks. It also signaled April 2 that it’s reconsidering the Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California to set greenhouse gas standards, which the Obama Administration adopted at the federal level. At issue globally is […]

The Buzz

2 Mar

Tin ears are prevalent this week. During the U.S. EPA’s public “listening session” in San Francisco mid-week on the agency’s plan to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board head, questions agency officials’ hearing ability. The decibels in the room increase with the long line of speakers blasting the proposed repeal […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

Fire Risks Require Land & Building Changes, CPUC Told

1 Feb

Fire safety scientists and engineers predict California will face mounting danger from wildfires in the coming decade due to climate change regardless of what energy utilities do to reduce the chances that their equipment may ignite blazes. The chief way to prevent a mounting toll of death, injury, and property damage, they told the California […]

Brown Touts Climate Change Leadership in State of the State

25 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown highlighted the state’s leadership on climate change in his final State of the State Address to a joint session of the Legislature Jan. 25. He promised he would soon unveil a carbon cap-and-trade program expenditure plan that helps all California communities. “The science of climate change is not in doubt,” said the […]

ISO Plans Discounted Western Reliability Services

18 Jan

The California grid operator is working to expand its services to include reliability coordination and expects it to cost potentially less than half of what’s charged by Peak Reliability, the current reliability coordinator in the West. “We have a fairly high confidence that the cost will be at least a 50 percent discount to Peak […]

Undercurrents

13 Nov

Renewable energy and the prospects for electric vehicles could be upended in part by Congressional action on tax legislation. At issue is the House tax package, which would cut the production tax credit for wind energy by more than a third, eliminate the federal $7,500 tax credit for purchasing electric vehicles, and ax a 10 […]

SHORTS

23 Oct

Energy regulators should require Southern California Edison to meet local power needs through a feed-in tariff for renewables, demand response, and energy efficiency and storage, according to the Clean Coalition. It began pushing for a tariff instead of a request for offers for preferred resources after the California Energy Commission signaled it would reject a […]

Puente Project Gets Shot Down

6 Oct

NRG’s construction license application for its 261 MW Puente natural gas-fired project on the beach in Ventura County was blown out of the water Oct. 6. “On the record currently before us, we are unwilling to override the significant impacts or [laws, ordinances, regulations or standards] inconsistencies” posed by the project, states the proposed decision […]

The Buzz

25 Aug

State utility regulators okayed a shift in the peak pricing period to later in the day for San Diego Gas & Electric customers. Industry advocates warn it erodes the economic advantages of rooftop solar. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry gets an education about how the grid operates. A Department of Energy staff report he requested […]

Grid Operator Seeks to Avoid Solar Energy Crash

24 Jul

The California Independent System Operator is working to get utility-scale solar generators to reset the controls on their inverters to avoid massive losses of generation when transmission lines experience momentary faults. The effort comes after major solar systems have suddenly quit feeding power to the grid—in one case causing a sudden loss of almost 1,200 […]

Shorts

26 Jun

The California Air Resources Board amended its rules for reporting greenhouse gas emissions June 29. The board decided not to include the California Independent System Operator’s energy imbalance market in the rules. Instead, it said it will collect annual information on greenhouse gas emissions related to that market under a formal subpoena process. It made […]

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 […]

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