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Cap-&-Trade’s Effectiveness Questioned

17 Jan

Amid concern that California’s carbon cap-and-trade is awash in emissions rights so that companies face no pressure to reduce greenhouse gases, state lawmakers called on the California Air Resources Board to analyze how the various measures in the state’s climate program have worked over the past 10 years. “Experts say the state will meet the […]

Undercurrents: DOE Wants Nation to be Energy Top Dog

9 Jan

Energy dominance is a key Department of Energy goal under President Trump, a leading department official told a House panel this week. Reliable delivery of energy to consumers is another major goal. “We are closing in on our nation’s long-elusive goal of full energy independence,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette before the House […]

Bill Would Prohibit New Gas-Fired Cars in 2040

4 Jan

Legislation to phase out gasoline-powered vehicles was introduced Jan. 3. AB 1745, by Assemblymember Ting (D-San Francisco), requires that all new cars and small trucks registered in California after Jan. 1, 2040, be zero emissions vehicles. That includes in all modes of operation, including while air conditioning is operating. “It’s time that we clear the […]

Climate Roundup

8 Nov

Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed creating a new international carbon market. In a Nov. 7 address to European Union leaders in Brussels, Brown noted that California recently extended its carbon cap-and-trade program to 2030. “We could explore linking California and the European Union,” he added. He pointed out that the state’s emissions trading program is […]

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 […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

OPINIONATED: Binary Geothermal Gives PV a Run for Its Money

17 Oct

By Paul Thomsen In 2017, for the first time, the combined energy and capacity values of geothermal energy significantly exceeded the value of solar photovoltaic resources in California. In the first quarter of 2017, geothermal’s wholesale energy value in Southern California was $13.50/MWh greater than solar PV. At the same time, utility estimates of marginal […]

Undercurrents: Bill Promoting Renewables During Peaks Before Gov.

7 Sep

State legislation to increase the amount of clean alternative resources used to meet peak demand passed both chambers this week. The Senate passed SB 338 on 27-13 vote Sept. 6 after the Assembly passed it 46-26 the day before. “California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), […]

Action on PG&E Butte Fire Penalty & EV Subsidy Bills

22 Aug

Legislation to strengthen rural wildfire prevention programs with a penalty payment ordered by utility regulators for Pacific Gas & Electric’s role in triggering the Butte Fire in 2015 cleared the Senate Natural Resources Committee Aug. 22. The bill goes next to the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee. Meanwhile, a separate measure to advance electric […]

Clean Tech: Using Gas Pipelines for Hydrogen Delivery Is Up Hill Struggle

18 Jul

While policymakers envision piggybacking on the natural gas utility pipeline distribution system to distribute hydrogen to fuel vehicles and burn in homes and businesses, a new study casts doubt about the economics and practicality of doing so, at least for the next 20 years. The University of California at Davis study, presented to the California […]

Climate Roundup: Brown & Bloomberg Team Up on Emissions Tracking

12 Jul

Gov. Jerry Brown and Michael Bloomberg launched America’s Pledge on climate change July 12, which aims to compile and quantify the actions of states, cities and businesses in the U.S. to drive down their greenhouse gas emissions. “Today we’re sending a clear message to the world that America’s states, cities and businesses are moving forward […]

Ventura Clean Power Alternatives Study Begins

22 Jun

The grid operator late last week agreed to study whether preferred resources—including renewable power and energy storage and efficiency—could be substituted for a proposed fossil fuel power plant in Oxnard to meet Ventura County’s power needs. Replacement power is necessary because two old power plants there are slated to shut down at the end of […]

Climate Roundup: Renewable Gas = Economic Growth?

9 May

Collecting methane from animal feed lots, landfills, sewage treatment plants and other facilities and using it for transportation fuel—particularly to replace diesel fuel in heavy-duty vehicles—could create 130,000 new jobs in California and add $14 billion a year to the state’s economy by 2030, claim renewable gas advocates. The California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition and […]

Bill Seeks to Improve Carbon Accounting for Unspecified Power

15 Mar

Legislation requiring the California Air Resources Board to better estimate the greenhouse gas emissions from coal-powered electricity sent into California as unspecified resources passed its first committee hearing. The Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee March 15 passed on an 8-5 vote AB 79 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County). The bill seeks to establish improved […]

CARB Puts Off 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan

16 Feb

State air regulators delayed adopting an updated plan for cutting greenhouse gases 40 percent by 2030 after meeting with an advisory committee. (more…)

SHORTS

8 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has canceled its Feb. 16 meeting. Acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Colette Honorable announced that future business meetings also are being suspended until President Donald Trump fills the commission to establish a quorum. Meanwhile, informational, as opposed to action item meetings will continue. SoCal Gas reached an $8.5 million […]

Coastal Agencies, Lawmakers Raise Red Flags on Beachfront Puente Power Project

7 Feb

A split in Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration over a controversial power plant project proposed in Oxnard widened this week when the California Coastal Conservancy recommended that NRG build the facility at an alternate location. The next day, a group of state lawmakers raised questions about the need for the plant and its impacts on the […]

Undercurrents

3 Nov

Legislative pressure to move staff at the state’s largest and most powerful energy agency from San Francisco to Sacramento with no clear or transparent game plan has many California Public Utilities Commission employees on edge. It also is further undermining employee morale at an agency hit with scandals in the upper echelons. During the second […]

JUICE: Naughty & Nice

17 Dec

Here’s California Current’s 2015 rundown of the best and worst in the energy world directly and indirectly affecting California. (more…)

CLIMATE ROUNDUP: Clean Energy Sought in Cap & Trade Investment Plan

17 Dec

The California Air Resources Board’s new investment plan for state proceeds from carbon cap-and-trade auctions calls for spending to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for residential, commercial, industrial, and public buildings. It also calls for supporting a variety of energy storage projects and developing clean biomass energy projects. (more…)