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CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

Shorts

6 Jul

July 8 update Neither the Assembly nor Senate will return to Sacramento next week as planned. The California Senate made the announcement in a July 8 letter, the day after the Assembly cancelled reconvening July 13 because five who work at the Capitol tested positive for Covid-19, including at least one lawmaker, the San Francisco […]

CA Gas Utilities Produce Cutting Edge Clean Biogas

23 Jun

SoCal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 22 a significant breakthrough in a new electrochemical technology that converts carbon dioxide in raw biogas to renewable natural gas that can be put into pipelines. It is a “critical improvement in the science of upgrading waste emissions to renewable gas,” according to the utilities. This […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

West Coast Utilities Propose Truck Charging Network

17 Jun

A coalition of utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to advance the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by installing public electric charging stations along a 1,300 mile stretch of Interstate 5.   The plan released June 17 proposes installing 27 charging stations, with up to 10 ports each, for medium-duty […]

Humboldt Towns Protected Against Shutoffs, Locals Say the Change is Overdue

16 Jun

When power is deliberately shut off to avoid fires amid high wind in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 20 cities along the North Coast won’t have to worry. That is because PG&E reconfigured its 163 MW natural gas fired power plant in Humboldt County so it can disconnect from the grid and continue supplying the […]

Packed CPUC Agenda Includes Approving PG&E Diesel Backup

11 Jun

State utility regulators June 11 addressed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and continued systematic racism near and far, including at the California Public Utilities Commission. They also held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to remember Floyd’s death on May 25. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that while the five commissioners […]

CPUC Decisions Curb Disconnections, Okay Central Resource Adequacy Buyer

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to reduce the number of power disconnections of financially struggling customers. Also during its June 11 meeting, regulators voted to make the state’s two biggest private utilities the buyers of local supply cushions for all providers in their territories. That includes for their competitors, community energy. The […]

CPUC Okays IOUs $15B Fire Risk Reduction Plans

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday signed off on all the utilities’ 2020 wildfire mitigation plans despite “significant concerns,” raised by staff. The total tab of the plans by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric is an estimated $15 billion. Regulators, however, did not discuss the price […]

JUICE: Falling Off the Clean Energy Wagon

9 Jun

Updated June 11 Since the start of this century, California has been working to wean the electricity sector off addictive and harmful fossil-fueled generation. A homegrown 12-step recovery program has produced impressive strides. But key players, and Pacific Gas & Electric in particular, are allowed to fall off the wagon. State energy regulators approved June […]

Success of PG&E’s Wildfire Plan Iffy, Lawmakers Told

4 Jun

With the threat of wildfires approaching, lawmakers wanted details on Pacific Gas & Electric’s mitigation plans, including how it will reduce the impacts of its public safety shutoffs during hot and windy conditions. Rachel Peterson, deputy director of the California Public Utilities Commission, reported to the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee that PG&E was […]

Diesel and Gas Backup Generator Bills Advance

1 Jun

Two bills promoting the use of diesel and natural gas fueled backup generation during planned safety outages passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee May 27. SB 1099 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) relieves hospitals and other critical facilities that fire up diesel generators during power outages of any threat–real or perceived–that they will be fined […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Shutoffs, Microgrids & Digital Divide are the Focus of Passed Bills

27 May

Legislation to mitigate power shutoff impacts, and bolster microgrid installations to keep power flowing during and after fires, were passed by masked members of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee May 26. Also included in the small stack of bills approved at the Committee’s first public hearing since issuance of the stay-at-home orders are […]

News Roundup: ARB Sues Fed Over Clean Car Waiver, PG&E Signs 423 MW of Storage Deals

19 May

The California Air Resources Board has sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Safety Transportation Administration for failing to provide a rationale for blocking its emission standards for cars and light trucks that are stricter than the federal ones. The suit, unlike others over the Clean Air Act waiver authority, is based on […]

The Buzz

14 May

The massive hole in the upcoming state budget caused by the pandemic does not keep Gov. Gavin Newsom from adding funds to protect against wildfires and its fallout.  It is another story for climate protection, however. Covid-19 also is responsible for destroying huge numbers of jobs in energy efficiency, renewables and other alternative energy sectors […]

CA Budget Plan Adds Funds for Fire Protection but Subtracts for Climate

14 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest spending blueprint for 2020 to 2021 increases funding for wildfire prevention and safeguards funds for reducing the impacts of power shutoffs despite a $54 billion deficit created by the pandemic. The bad news on the climate front is that the latest proposal eliminates the five-year $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond slated […]

Home Power Use Continues to Rise, Overall Demand Falls

12 May

Residential electricity use rose 12.4% last month statewide, while total use fell 9% compared to April 2019, as the changes resulting from stay at home orders settled in. That’s according to a California Energy Commission report released May 12. In March, home electricity use increased 8.9%, but total use dropped 4% because of lower commercial […]

The Buzz

7 May

The California Public Utilities Commission staff releases a draft resolution that finds big holes in the private utilities 2020 plans for reducing wildfire threats. But it recommends they be approved. Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders are on the hook for nearly $2 billion for numerous fires the company sparked in 2017 and 2018. The presiding […]

Home Excess Energy Use Charge Tamped Down

7 May

To help decrease bills for residents spending all day in their homes, energy regulators voted to lower the financial penalty for excess energy use typically charged by the investor-owned utilities. The reduction is to “make sure residential bills remain manageable during this crisis,” California Public Utilities Commission member Genevieve Shiroma said May 7. The move […]