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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 […]

CPUC Rejects $1.5 B Increase for Diablo Decommissioning

25 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approved with no discussion giving Pacific Gas & Electric $2.42 billion to decommission the Diablo Canyon Power Plant and $1.06 billion for the continued decommissioning of the Humboldt Bay Power Plant. PG&E earlier this month sought a 65 percent increase of its 2012 estimate to decommission Diablo, from $2.286 billion, […]

FERC Nominees Grilled About Commitment to State Rights

25 May

During a Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee May 25 hearing on two Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees, the role of state rights in energy decision-making, including on non-fossil resources, garnered considerable attention. The panel also considered the nomination of Dan Brouillette as the Department of Energy’s deputy secretary, with proposed budget cuts and partisan […]

Climate Roundup: $ Said Key to Clean Transportation in Low-Income Areas

25 May

Not only is new funding needed but existing money should be better prioritized in order to increase access to clean transportation in poor communities in California, according to a California Air Resources Board analysis presented May 25. The report—required under SB 350, which was enacted in 2015 to advance the state’s transition to clean energy—concludes […]

Gov. Sees Environmental Justice Problems Up Close

24 May

Gov. Jerry Brown met with Assemblymember Christina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) May 23 to tour the 58th Assembly District in Southeast Los Angeles County and discuss how to meld state efforts on climate change with cleaning up toxic and smog-forming air pollution in working class neighborhoods. “Today, the Governor got to breathe the same air as […]

JUICE: Beyond a Bud Light Future in EV Charging

24 May

The beer flowed May 19 in Sacramento after an all-day meeting on the future of “retail competition” in the California electric power industry. But when the waiters picked up the glasses and mopped up the suds little really had been settled. While other states abound with consumer choice in retail power plans—sporting such features as […]

Trump’s Sale of WAPA & BPA Lines is a Lead Balloon

23 May

The Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget, released May 23, puts a for sale sign on federally-owned power lines in the West. However, selling the transmission assets of the Western Area Power Administration, the Bonneville Power Administration, and the Southwestern Power Administration will face major resistance from federal lawmakers from the West and Northwest. Carl […]

Undercurrents: Trump’s Budget Guts Clean Energy Programs & Transmission

23 May

As feared, President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget released May 23 slashes funding for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy and other federal agencies. Heading for the guillotine are funds for energy efficiency and to states for weatherization of low-income residences and alternative energy programs. The budget document states it eliminates programs considered “duplicative” […]

Shorts

23 May

The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee passed legislation mandating that fines imposed on Pacific Gas & Electric for the 2015 Butte fire directly benefit the two impacted counties. During a May 23 hearing, lasting about two minutes, AB 524 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Madera) was approved.  It focuses on the $8.25 million in penalties slapped […]

Direct Access Said to Threaten IOUs & Community Choice

23 May

The California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission met May 19 to better grasp how to reorient away from regulation of four private utilities, which are losing market share, to guiding the energy use of millions of disparate customers, including those joining public community choice programs. During the all-day joint commission meeting, the impact of […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

The Buzz

19 May

The wide selection of brands of peanut butter and other consumer products up and down the state is not questioned. But electricity choice is, at least by state regulators. They question community choice’s impact on the traditional utility business model, and even the state’s climate protection efforts. Elsewhere, community energy is assumed to be the […]

Regulators Struggle With Expanding Retail Choice

18 May

State energy regulators are wringing their hands over the flood of ratepayers moving to community choice programs and trying to create some order amid the chaos caused by the upending of the traditional role of private utilities and central planning. California is moving to a competitive retail market, notes a California Public Utilities Commission white […]

PG&E Sued Over Tragic Oakland Warehouse Fire

18 May

Pacific Gas & Electric is among the long list of named defendants in a consolidated wrongful death suit filed mid-week following the fire in a makeshift artist residence in an Oakland warehouse last December. The blaze and inability to escape what has been called a “death trap” killed 36 people and injured many more. The […]

San Jose is Largest U.S. City to Choose Community Choice

18 May

The city of San Jose is forming a community choice aggregation program after its city council voted unanimously May 16 to approve the step. The program should become operational in April of 2018 if all goes as planned. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that with the vote the city will become “the largest” in […]

Utility Electric Car Projects Hit Speed Bumps

18 May

Two private utilities’ proposed pilot projects to expand electric car charging to accelerate use of electric vehicles met resistance this week. The projects are part of plans by the state’s three investor-owned utilities to spend $1 billion on chargers to reduce emissions from transportation, the largest source of greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. […]

SCE Labor Practices Impact Rates & Safety, Union Says

17 May

Southern California Edison’s 2018-2020 rate case has become embroiled in a labor dispute in which a major union says it’s been locked out of contracting jobs with the utility, which are on the upswing as the company focuses on improving its aging distribution system. Enhancing the safety of its distribution system, in which equipment failures […]

Edison Rate Hike

17 May

Southern California Edison’s proposed general rate case will raise the average bill of residential customers who use 600 kWh a month by $3.75 in 2018, another $5.65 in 2019, and then again by an additional $7.29 in 2020, according to California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge Steve Roscow. By 2020, those who use 600 […]

Juice: A Worthy Proposal

17 May

Rapid technological change and policies to promote clean energy have undermined traditional gas-fired generators and thrust the state’s grid into a period of instability. While ten years out the picture looks rosy—with little doubt the state will achieve its 50 percent renewable energy standard—the outlook for the next two to five years is cloudy with […]

Undercurrents: Agencies Aim to End Low-Income Barriers to Clean Energy

17 May

State energy agencies shared their hopes and ideas about how to extend the economic and environmental benefits of alternative energy technologies—from rooftop solar systems to electric cars—to low-income residents at a joint agency meeting May 16. “We don’t have a smooth road to travel,” said Alice Reynolds, an advisor to Gov. Jerry Brown. “We know […]