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Coalition Fights Back on Building Decarbonization

20 Aug

Opponents of the drive to electrify buildings and end the use of natural gas for space and water heating and cooking rallied at the state capitol Aug. 20. They called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to support what they called “affordable clean energy solutions” instead of driving toward “all-electric” buildings. “California is in the middle of […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

Shorts

13 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric appointed a new utility chief executive officer and president. Andrew Vesey was selected to head the bankrupt utility, PG&E announced Aug. 13. Vesey was the managing director and chief executive officer of AGL Energy in Australia from 2015 to 2018. The prior 11 years, he served as AES Corp.’s chief executive […]

Microgrids Can Create Community Energy Resilience

8 Aug

Microgrids offer increasing promise in making communities resilient to climate change by providing electricity for critical facilities during power outages or when utilities turn off power lines to prevent wildfires, researchers and community leaders told the California Energy Commission Aug. 8. They spoke to CEC members during a workshop this week on making the state’s […]

Berkeley Moves to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

17 Jul

The Berkeley City Council the evening of July 16 voted to phase-out gas hookups for new homes built in the city beginning next year. The council will have to take a second vote on the amendment to its building code before the requirement becomes local law. Natural gas use in buildings, according to a memo […]

Undercurrents: School Buses Going Electric

16 Jul

The California Energy Commission awarded $70 million July 15 to replace 200 old diesel school buses with all-electric buses at schools throughout the state. “Making the transition to electric school buses that don’t emit pollution provides children and their communities with cleaner air and numerous public health benefits,” said Energy Commissioner Patty Monahan. The electric […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Updated July 18. The California Energy Commission’s clean transportation program to date has provided $830 million in funding, with most of the money targeted at advancing the use of electric vehicles, according to a summary presented at a commission meeting on the program’s accomplishments July 18. In the clean vehicle infrastructure area, CEC has provided […]

Bills to Green & Save on Energy Advance

2 Jul

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee July 2 approved bills to require load serving entities to pick up the tab for system costs caused by their supply shortages, increase the efficiency of cool roofs and require energy regulators to reveal energy providers’ rates and portfolios. AB 1584 by Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) would require […]

Bills Address Solar Systems in Wildfire Areas

18 Jun

The state Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee advanced two bills dealing with electricity and wildfires on June 18. One measure, AB 178 by Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber), would exempt fire victims rebuilding their homes from a state requirement to put solar panels on their roofs. Dahle said his bill, which was opposed by environmental […]

Juice: The Twilight of Fossil Fuel

17 Jun

It’s increasingly apparent that state energy officials are nearing a consensus that natural gas usage in California must be wound down to achieve both climate change and health-based air quality goals. Earlier this month, California Energy Commission officials discussed how to plan for closing down, or systematically shrinking the state’s natural gas distribution system as […]

The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

All-Electric Buildings Raise Rates

6 Jun

As California pursues a strategy to phase out the use of natural gas for heating space and water, cooking and other uses it will have to develop a transition plan to prevent remaining gas customers from rate shock. That’s according to a new study conducted for the California Energy Commission. “This has big implications for […]

More Fallout from Shoddy Gas Lines in SoCal

23 May

The greater Los Angeles area faces another summer that could be plagued by tight natural gas supplies and price hikes for power generators due to ongoing gas transmission line outages and limits on the use of the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. June looks to be the tightest month for gas supplies, […]

State Faces Tighter Power Supplies, CPUC Warns

23 May

California is becoming increasingly dependent on out-of-state power to meet peak needs. At the same time, concerns about the state’s increasing vulnerability to the  exercise of “market power,” which could spike prices, is rising, according to a California Public Utilities Commission official. “There’s a general tightening of resource adequacy supply,” Simon Baker, Energy Division deputy […]

Undercurrents: Corrosion Named Culprit in Aliso Canyon Leak

21 May

An investigation into the root cause of the massive 2015-16 methane leak at the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility found the direct cause was a rupture of the outer 7-inch well casing due to microbial corrosion from the outside because of contact with groundwater. The report, released May 17 by the California […]

Shorts

21 May

Updated May 23. Pacific Gas & Electric is planning to rebuild power distribution lines underground in Paradise, the utility announced May 23. It has not yet developed a cost estimate for the work. Putting the electric wires underground is expected to take five years. In the interim, overhead lines will be built to provide temporary […]

Undercurrents: Lawmakers Examine CPUC Safety Office

14 May

Updated May 15 Whether the California Public Utilities Commission’s fairly young Office of Safety Advocates is increasing safety at the CPUC and utilities was the focus of a May 14 hearing by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Subcommittee on Gas, Electric & Transportation Safety. A key challenge remains insufficient resources for the safety office. […]

Central Procurement Bill Advances After Being Narrowed

23 Apr

An Assembly committee April 22 approved two key pieces of legislation, including a bill to establish a state-run backstop power procurement program and another to order state energy officials to investigate recent or future natural gas price spikes. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed AB 56 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) on a 6-2 vote. […]

Undercurrents: Gas Prices to Remain Low

22 Apr

Natural gas will remain plentiful and reasonably priced in California through 2030, according to an analysis presented to the California Energy Commission April 22. Ample natural gas supplies from both Western Canada and the Permian Basin in Texas—which are connected to California by interstate pipelines—will keep prices lower in the Golden State than at Henry […]