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The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

U.S. Senate Energy Committee Aims to Curb Wildfires

14 Jun

To coincide with the start of this year’s wildfire season, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) held a June 13 hearing to assess wildfire threats, including from grasslands and excess fuels in forests in Alaska, California and across the U.S. Murkowski, Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee chair, warned of the “proliferation of disease and insect […]

House Debates Nuclear Waste Bills

13 Jun

A House Energy & Commerce subcommittee June 13 debated how to restart the stalled effort to remove and consolidate stranded high-level radioactive waste kept onsite at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Rancho Seco in Sacramento and at 119 other sites across the nation. Three federal bills aiming to consolidate waste from nuclear plants were […]

Shorts

13 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee backed extending the time renewable gas projects can tap into state incentives covering 50 percent of their interconnection costs this week. On a 14-0 vote, the panel approved SB 547 by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). The bill extends by five years to Dec, 31, 2026, the date by […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

CAISO Calls A Flex Alert

12 Jun

The grid operator asked for voluntary conservation efforts Tuesday afternoon and evening as the heat wave drove up power demand. Triple digit temperatures in Sacramento, San Jose, San Bernardino and many other regions of California on June 11 prompted residents to crank up air conditioners, pushing up energy usage to 42,739 MW at 5:23 p.m. […]

Undercurrents

11 Jun

With temperatures set to soar last weekend, Pacific Gas & Electric shut off power to 21,000 customers in Butte and Yuba counties for safety reasons at about 9:00 p.m. on June 8. In addition to safety shutoffs in the Sierra Foothills, PG&E turned off power to about 1,700 customers in Napa, Solano and Yolo Counties […]

JUICE: Sailing to Grid Regionalization

11 Jun

The announcement by California’s transmission operator that it will become the regional coordinator, not only in its territory, but across big parts of the western grid beginning July 1 generated few headlines. However, the California Independent System Operator becoming the new high wires reliability cop on the beat from Northern Mexico to Canada is a […]

S&P Pressures Sen. Wildfire Panel on Strict Liability

11 Jun

The Senate Select Committee on the Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires & Climate Change was warned that the credit rating agencies would further downgrade the investor-owned utilities if the state’s strict liability standard applied to utility equipment-sparked wildfires remained on the books. Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles) waived a letter from Standard & Poor’s during a […]

Montali Rules FERC Has No Say over PG&E Power Deals

10 Jun

A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled in Pacific Gas & Electric’s favor on who controls the more than $40 billion in PG&E’s renewable and gas power purchase agreements. Judge Dennis Montali held that his court, not federal energy regulators, has say over the multi-million dollar deals signed by PG&E. The utility is in the midst […]

Correction

10 Jun

Last week, Current reported that energy storage bill SB 772 by Sen. Steve Bradford (D-Gardena) cleared the state Senate. However, the Senate did not pass the bill, but days later agreed to reconsider the measure in the next session of the Legislature, effectively making SB 772 a two-year bill. Later, at Bradford’s request, the measure […]

The Buzz

6 Jun

As lawmakers contemplate a legislative course to deal with the mounting financial implications of wildfires, it’s increasingly evident that utility ratepayers will have to shoulder billions of dollars of costs. Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders appear to rule out eliminating strict liability for utilities that spark wildfires, at least for now. California’s developing […]

Ratepayers Face Billions of Wildfire Costs

6 Jun

Under pressure to act on the mounting financial impacts of wildfires including those sparked by electric utilities, lawmakers face fundamental choices as the end of the legislative session begins to come into view. Almost all of them involve handing ratepayers much of the tab for untold billions of dollars of utility wildfire expenses. The choices […]

All-Electric Buildings Raise Rates

6 Jun

As California pursues a strategy to phase out the use of natural gas for heating space and water, cooking and other uses it will have to develop a transition plan to prevent remaining gas customers from rate shock. That’s according to a new study conducted for the California Energy Commission. “This has big implications for […]

Undercurrents: CAISO Is New Western Reliability Coordinator

5 Jun

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. early this week approved the California Independent System Operator as the West’s new reliability coordinator. With NERC certification in hand, CAISO will begin offering reliability coordinator services to electricity balancing authorities across the western states and in part of Mexico on July 1. “The NERC certification is an important […]

Juice: Uncle Joe Offers Climate Change Hope

4 Jun

News flash: Joe Biden just released a $1.7 trillion climate change plan as part of his Presidential campaign platform. While on the late side compared to others, including candidates who spent last weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Biden’s plan may well be just as sweeping in its ambition. First and foremost, […]

Energy Storage Draws Bipartisan Praise in U.S. Senate

4 Jun

Energy storage gained stature in Congress this week during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 4. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, called storage an “innovative technology” that is adding resilience and economic efficiency to the nation’s grid while reducing greenhouse gases. She noted that an increasing number of Alaskan […]

Newsom & Lawmakers Reject Revising Strict Liability

3 Jun

As the Legislature looks ahead to summer, the governor and leading legislators have made it clear that setting up a wildfire insurance fund will be the chief priority in the coming months instead of changing state liability law. Facing massive liabilities for wildfires sparked by electric lines, utilities have continued to call for revising the […]

Shorts

3 Jun

Updated June 6. East Bay Community Energy inked a ten-year contract with Vistra Energy to receive resource adequacy capacity from a 20-MW/80-MWh battery energy storage project that will allow the 165 MW fuel oil-fired Oakland Power Plant to close.  The contract is part of the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative, a plan developed earlier to replace […]