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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 […]

Assembly Committee Okays Energy Info Bills

11 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved several measures aimed at providing more public information on energy prices April 10. Bills approved by the panel included: AB 1799 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), to require the California Energy Commission to form a task force to delve into recent natural gas price volatility, which boosted the […]

Bill Bolstering Distributed Resources Advances

10 Apr

Legislation to promote distributed generation and battery storage with more favorable tariffs and grid interconnection process streamlining advanced through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee April 10. It was approved despite opposition from public and investor-owned utilities. The panel also approved two bills aimed at minimizing wildfire risk from power lines. SB 288 cleared […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Undercurrents: CEC Aims to Fund New Technologies

26 Mar

The California Energy Commission this week launched an effort to develop a funding roadmap to advance smart inverters, energy storage, electric vehicle-to-grid, microgrid and other demand response technologies. At a March 25 workshop, the commission focused on current technologies and barriers they face that impede higher levels of distributed energy resources feeding into the grid. […]

Shorts

25 Mar

Updated March 28. State utility regulators this week turned down a bid by Pacific Gas & Electric to sell its Narrows Hydroelectric Project to the Yuba County Water Agency. The utility sought approval of the sale for $3.8 million through an advice letter. However, the California Public Utilities Commission decided that due to the complexity […]

CEC Backs Battery System for Black Start Operations

12 Mar

The California Energy Commission March 12 cleared the way for NRG to install a 7 MW battery facility at its Marsh Landing power plant in Antioch. It will be used to provide needed power for black start operations at the plant. Last year the California Independent System Operator designated the 760 MW simple-cycle plant, which […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

Study Aims to Advance EV Charging Infrastructure

11 Mar

In an effort to support California’s goal of getting 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030, the California Energy Commission March 11 began a new effort to better assess how to bolster charging infrastructure. “The electric vehicle adoption rate has picked up in California,” said Kevin Barker, CEC’s deputy director of fuels and […]

Opinionated: State Puts Buildings in Energy Policy Spotlight

25 Feb

By Pierre Delforge California took another pioneering step in tackling carbon emissions from millions of homes and commercial buildings across the state Feb. 20. The California Energy Commission’s latest policy report puts reducing the climate and air pollution from buildings front and center for the first time, representing a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities. It […]