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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 & […]

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 […]

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 […]

Renewable Gas Market Hampered by Cost

27 Jun

California has a significant potential to use methane produced by biological sources to stem global warming and reduce urban air pollution, researchers told three agencies this week at a joint meeting on reducing methane emissions. But there is a catch. Excluding externalities, biomethane is much more costly than other energy resources. Methane, a powerful greenhouse […]

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 […]

Bills to Clean Up Unspecified Power & Disadvantaged Communities Advance

20 Jun

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee June 20 passed several energy bills, including ones to improve estimates of greenhouse gas emissions of unidentified power resources and utility baselines, and to direct more clean energy funds and projects to struggling communities. AB 79 by Marc Levine (D-Marin County) passed 9-1. It directs the California Air […]

CEC Continues to Grant Big Clean Energy Bucks

14 Jun

The California Energy Commission June 14 approved well over $50 million in grants to advance efficiency and alternative energy use in the transportation, natural gas and electricity sectors. Among the many grants approved on 3-0 votes was more than $20 million for nine new hydrogen refueling stations in California. The alternative fuel stations are expected […]

SHORTS

14 Jun

In a change of tune, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a Congressional panel June 15 that he plans not to challenge California’s authority to set tighter automotive emissions standards than the federal standards. Earlier this year, he suggested EPA might review whether the state’s power to set the standards, now in place for almost 50 […]

JUICE: Beyond Natural Gas Power

13 Jun

A confluence of developments casts significant doubt about the future of natural gas-fired power in California. While the rest of the nation—if you believe the new administration in Washington—is beating a path toward a vaunted fossil fuel renaissance, the Golden State is about ready to reach for 100 percent renewable power and could forgo building […]

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, […]

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 […]

CEC Weighs Clean Alternatives to Coastal Plant

30 May

The California Energy Commission wants the grid operator’s input on whether a proposed gas-fired power plant along the coast in Oxnard is necessary to ensure energy reliability in Ventura County and, if so, whether clean resources could suffice. A committee that’s running the licensing proceeding for NRG’s proposed 271 MW Puente project will meet June […]

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 […]

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 […]

Beneficial Uses of Excess Power Supply Eyed

14 May

California will need increasing flexibility to maintain reliable power supplies on the grid as levels of renewable energy increase in the years ahead. However, while that’s currently viewed as a problem due to its close relationship to oversupplies of power on bright sunny afternoons it may represent a golden opportunity. That’s the picture that emerged […]

CEC Grants Big Clean Energy Bucks

10 May

The California Energy Commission approved more than $55 million in grants May 10 to promote less polluting ports, electric vehicles, alternative vehicle fuels and building energy efficiency. Two Southern California ports and the surrounding poor communities are to reap the benefits of a $25 million in grants for zero and low emission vehicles. The impact […]

Shorts

10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]