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Coalition Fights Back on Building Decarbonization

20 Aug

Opponents of the drive to electrify buildings and end the use of natural gas for space and water heating and cooking rallied at the state capitol Aug. 20. They called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to support what they called “affordable clean energy solutions” instead of driving toward “all-electric” buildings. “California is in the middle of […]

Juice: EV Sales Rising

20 Aug

The many Teslas I see driving down I-5 to San Diego are sleek, shiny, and new. Whatever you think about blunt-smoking Elon Musk, there’s little doubt he’s made cars that solve many of the problems that long hampered the advance of the electric vehicle. Now, his work—and that of many others in the auto industry—have […]

PG&E Stock Falls Further After Legal Ruling

20 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric’s stock remained in the dumps Aug. 20 after a federal bankruptcy court Aug. 16 lifted a freeze on some $18 billion in claims stemming from the 2017 Tubbs Fire in Sonoma County. While CalFire found the devastating fire, which swept through Santa Rosa, was caused by private electrical equipment rather than […]

News Analysis: As PG&E Retreats Others Fill the Void

19 Aug

By Fereidoon P. Sioshansi To avoid wildfire lawsuits utilities are driving customers to self-generation and storage. For the second time in its long history, Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest investor-owned utility, is under bankruptcy protection. Both times, you might say, the company fell on hard times not because of what it did but because […]

The Buzz

15 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission says goodbye to President Mike Picker. The five commissioners also approve new decade-long energy efficiency targets and SDG&E’s $100 million heavy-duty vehicle electrification program. The California Independent System Operator gets a CEC pat on the back for being the new Reliability Coordinator. The Energy Commission also adopts impressive new rules […]

Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

PG&E Tree Management Is Seriously Questioned

15 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric was slammed for deficient training of contracted tree trimmers and inadequate vegetation management, including in high fire risk zones, by the federal court monitoring PG&E’s safety practices. The utility was put on probation by the court because of violations that led to the 2010 gas pipe blast in San Bruno. The […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

CA Sues U.S. EPA Over Clean Power Plan Repeal

13 Aug

California’s top lawyer Aug. 13  announced a suit challenging the Trump Administration’s “unlawful” and “toothless” replacement of the nation’s Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, according to California Attorney Xavier Becerra, “fails everyone who stands for cleaner air.” He added that the Clean Power Plan’s far weaker replacement […]

CA Electricity Sector Emissions Fall Nearly 10%

13 Aug

Greenhouse gas emissions from California’s electricity sector in 2017 dropped 9 percent below 2016 levels, but overall emissions in the state fell only 1 percent. The decrease in electricity emissions was offset by rising emissions from the state’s transportation sector, which is the largest source of carbon gases in the Golden State. That is according […]

Shorts

13 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric appointed a new utility chief executive officer and president. Andrew Vesey was selected to head the bankrupt utility, PG&E announced Aug. 13. Vesey was the managing director and chief executive officer of AGL Energy in Australia from 2015 to 2018. The prior 11 years, he served as AES Corp.’s chief executive […]

PG&E Sees Big Loss, Hedge Funds Offer $15B

12 Aug

Unlike California’s two other private utilities, massive wildfire claims caused Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. to lose a whopping $2.6 billion, according to its second quarter 2019 earnings report released Aug. 9. That loss, equating to a minus $4.95 per share, compares to a $984 million loss, or $1.98 a share, in the second quarter […]

The Buzz

8 Aug

Two of California’s major utilities show reasonable profits in their second quarter results and bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric says it expects to show a profit when it releases its financial results. Meanwhile, independent power generators post largely ho hum financial statements, although NextEra stands out with earnings that shine. In a sign of better […]

Microgrids Can Create Community Energy Resilience

8 Aug

Microgrids offer increasing promise in making communities resilient to climate change by providing electricity for critical facilities during power outages or when utilities turn off power lines to prevent wildfires, researchers and community leaders told the California Energy Commission Aug. 8. They spoke to CEC members during a workshop this week on making the state’s […]

Dairy Biogas Project Begins Delivering RNG

8 Aug

Calgren late last month finished work on the largest dairy biogas operation in the nation and will begin supplying SoCal Gas with renewable natural gas to help fill its pipelines later this year. At its new facility in Pixley in Tulare County, Calgren began collecting and gasifying manure from four dairies and plans to expand […]

Lawmakers to Deal with Wildfire Power Shutoff Fallout

7 Aug

When lawmakers return to Sacramento next week, they’ll face key votes on energy legislation dealing with how to provide backup power to meet critical community needs when power lines are shut down to prevent wildfires. Power shutoffs when winds blow can hamper crucial facilities, like water and communications systems, and affect the ability of residents […]

Generator Earnings Generally Muted

6 Aug

Updated Aug. 8. Independent generators with operations in California showed mixed results in the second quarter of 2019, though NextEra enjoyed a major boost in net income. Here is a summary of their latest earnings reports. AES: This Virginia-based global energy company earned $17 million in the second quarter of 2019, or 2 cents a […]

Climate Roundup: State Strikes Deal with Automakers on GHGs

6 Aug

State officials and top automakers late last month agreed on a voluntary framework for continuing to reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. The pact came as the Trump Administration is preparing to freeze standards at existing emissions levels and revoke the right of California to set its own emissions standards that are tighter than federal requirements. […]

Undercurrents: Efficiency Funds Allowed for Building Decarbonization

5 Aug

California utility regulators last week opened the door for using $1 billion a year of energy efficiency program money to retrofit homes and buildings to shift from natural gas to electricity for space and water heating and other uses. “This means there is now a clear path to roll out new programs that include efficient […]

California IOU Earnings in the Black

5 Aug

California investor-owned utilities showed profits during the second quarter this year, as PG&E announced ahead of its quarterly earnings statement it hopes to deliver shareholder returns even while it’s in bankruptcy. California energy companies credited Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers for creating a new wildfire liability insurance fund for state utilities earlier this summer, […]