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CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

Agencies Give SoCal Gas Permission to Reopen Aliso Canyon

19 Jul

Two state agencies gave SoCal Gas authority to begin both injecting and withdrawing natural gas from the utility’s Aliso Canyon storage facility near Los Angeles July 19. The Division of Oil, Gas, & Geothermal Resources and the California Public Utilities Commission gave the green light to resume operations at the facility on a scaled down […]

Legislation Sends Edison Penalty to Long Beach

19 Jul

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee July 18 passed a bill that would direct a $4 million penalty slapped on Southern California Edison for blackouts in Long Beach in 2015 to the city. SB 174 by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) would keep the penalty issued by the California Public Utilities Commission from going […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

CPUC Takes Time Weighing Utility EV Charging Plans

11 Jul

State energy agency officials on July 11 peppered utility representatives with questions about their plans to spend some $1 billion to develop electric vehicle charging infrastructure up and down the state over the next five years. How the plans will advance public acceptance of electric vehicles and help meet the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals […]

The Buzz

7 Jul

Taking the “dis” out of disadvantaged communities was center stage for lawmakers and regulators this week.  Reversing the trend of rising climate emissions and co-pollutants in poor local neighborhoods was the focus of a joint legislative Climate Change Policy panel.  Meanwhile, the CPUC zeroed in on making environmental justice  energy programs just. The Utilities & […]

Decreasing Struggling Communities Energy Disadvantages

6 Jul

More location-based energy pilot projects, data collection, and language translations can help tackle environmental justice challenges facing disadvantaged communities, according to panelists at a California Public Utilities Commission July 6 hearing on the issue. “Today’s en banc is a first step in what I expect to be an extended process of deeper engagement around the […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

CPUC Targets Smart Inverters’ Potential by 2020

3 Jul

A key to reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 12,000 MW of distributed energy resources by 2020 involves maximizing the use of smart inverters. Smart inverters “mitigate many of the traditional concerns associated with variable distributed energy resources,” like solar panels, Gabe Petlin, California Public Utilities Commission supervisor, said during a June 29 California Energy […]

Agencies Seek to Get a Grip on Self Generation

3 Jul

State energy agencies and the grid operator are grappling with how to forecast and better measure growing levels of distributed renewable energy flowing into the distribution and transmission systems. Unlike the high voltage system, power flows to and from lower voltage power lines are less transparent. No “adequate methods exist” for forecasting how distributed energy […]

CPUC Adopts 2018 Supply Cushion & Reconsiders Community Energy Fee

29 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 29 approved 5-0 resource adequacy requirements and flexible capacity obligations for electric utilities in 2018. The decision rejected considering multi-year resource adequacy requirements requiring a 15 percent supply cushion on grounds it would have delayed a decision. Commissioner Liane Randolph, the presiding member, added, “We didn’t feel it was […]

State Budget Augments Energy Agency Funding

29 Jun

The newly-signed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 includes increases for the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission. Lawmakers pulled out the carbon cap-and-trade auction money from the California Air Resources Board and other state agencies. The allocation of the auction funds and extension of the carbon trading program another 10 […]

Undercurrents: San Juan Capistrano Challenges the CPUC’s Approval of SDG&E Project

27 Jun

Editor’s Note: this article was updated June 29. The City of San Juan Capistrano filed suit against the California Public Utilities Commission for approving San Diego Gas & Electric’s South Orange County transmission upgrade project last December. The city claims the project, which would add $400 million to the ratebase, is not needed for reliability […]

Ways to Advance Renewable Gas

27 Jun

State energy and environmental agencies June 27 heard a potpourri of ideas for building a market to sop up biomethane, which is currently produced and emitted to the atmosphere from dairies, sewage treatment plants, landfills, and other sources in California. Biomethane can be used as a renewable fuel to power vehicles, make electricity and displace […]

Bill to Keep Utility Safety Funds on Track Advances

22 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 21 passed four small bills with little or no discussion, including one that aims to keep private utilities from diverting approved financial resources away from authorized safety work, including for pipelines. SB 595 by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) to prevent safety money diversions was approved on a 14-1 […]

Opinionated: Transformation at The Grid’s Edge

19 Jun

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Donald Rumsfeld, the former US Defense Secretary, referring to developments following the Iraq invasion famously said, in war, “Stuff happens,” suggesting that much of what happens is unpredictable and not necessarily pleasant. Similarly, in the electric power sector these days, stuff is happening – generally characterized by buzzwords including industry transformation, grid […]

Regulators Approve Gas Leak Reporting Best Practices

15 Jun

To help California meet its mandate to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, state regulators unanimously approved more than two dozen best practices aimed at reducing methane leaks from natural gas utility distribution and transmission pipelines. “This is a major shift in what we expect of infrastructure,” said California Public Utilities Commission President […]

CEC OKs Ventura Preferred Resources Study

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission agreed June 12 to have the grid operator study if Ventura County could meet an expected shortfall in local power supplies with preferred resources instead of a gas-fired power plant proposed on Oxnard’s beachfront. The study is to be completed by mid-July. “After years of fighting for clean air for Oxnard, […]

CA Home Solar Market Cools

8 Jun

Residential photovoltaic solar installations are declining in California for the first time this decade, according to a market report released June 8 by the Solar Energy Industries Association. The slowdown in the state, where residential installations dipped 35 percent during the first quarter of this year, dragged the national figure for residential installations down by […]

Energy Measures that Advance to Other House

8 Jun

Below is the latest update on bills that passed out of their house of origin. Still in play, but not approved, is Sen. Henry Stern’s legislation to freeze natural gas reinjections into the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon storage field, which leaked methane for months sickening residents. It was listed on the Senate floor’s June 8 […]