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The Buzz

7 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric propose strengthening their wildfire risk reduction programs.  SDG&E’s plan is not as dense as the other two mitigation blueprints because it put in place many safety measures after devastating wildfires more than a decade ago. Bankrupt PG&E’s plan stands out. That includes […]

Undercurrents: CEC Chair Says Adieu

6 Feb

Updated Feb. 6. Bob Weisenmiller, California Energy Commission chair, will leave his post Feb. 21. “This position has allowed me to preside over transformative policies aimed at addressing some of California’s key energy challenges, including the threat of climate change,” he stated Feb 6. Weisenmiller, who was appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, has served as […]

Coalition Calls for Ending Natural Gas Use in Buildings

29 Jan

California energy regulators need to substantially revise their policies to make sure buildings become part of the solution to meeting the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas reductions goals instead of a roadblock, according to a series of white papers issued Jan. 29 by the Building Decarbonization Coalition. The key, according to the group, is to eliminate […]

Sea Level Rise Poses Increasing Risk for SDG&E’s System

23 Jan

Updated Jan. 24. San Diego Gas & Electric faces the risk of significant damage to its power and natural gas distribution systems by mid-century, with more potential damage at the end of the century as the climate warms, says a pair of reports prepared for the California Energy Commission. The damages could cost the utility’s […]

Newsom Shapes CA Energy Policy with New Appointments

23 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom is moving quickly to put his stamp on California’s energy market roiled by the bankruptcy of the state’s largest private utility, Pacific Gas & Electric. A little more than two weeks after he was sworn in, Newsom filled a vacancy at the California Public Utilities Commission with another woman of color. He […]

Climate Roundup: Natural Gas Use to Decline as Climate Warms

22 Jan

Global warming will drive electricity usage upward in California and natural gas use downward, according to a study for the California Energy Commission discussed Jan. 18. The report examined almost a billion bills for electricity and natural gas usage in California homes and correlated usage with weather conditions. It then projected how usage is likely […]

State Regulators Scrutinize Surging So Cal Energy Prices

16 Jan

Southern Californians are paying more for natural gas and electricity due to the aging and failing natural gas supply system run by SoCal Gas. Due to limited capacity to deliver gas to homes, businesses, and power generators, the price of gas in Southern California was 134 percent higher during the months of July through September […]

Newsom Proposes Tempered Energy & Climate Change Spending

14 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first state budget proposal would make cuts from last year’s record spending on some energy-related programs, but overall would maintain funding for energy agency operations and staffing, even providing for some small staffing increases. Unlike former Gov. Jerry Brown, who heavily featured climate change expenditures in his annual budget messages, Newsom focused […]

The Buzz

10 Jan

State energy regulators unanimously move to begin developing a framework for determining how much of private utilities’ fire liability costs should be paid by ratepayers. The vote comes amidst ongoing protests by those outraged by the death and destruction caused by wildfires both sparked and possibly sparked by Pacific Gas & Electric. The California Public […]

CEC Electricity Forecast Changes Little

9 Jan

The California Energy Commission’s final 2018 electricity demand forecast is largely in line with its 2017 forecast, though the growth trend is 0.32 percent lower. Under the latest forecast adopted by the commission Jan. 9, total yearly electricity sales in California are expected to rise from about 260,000 GWh today to less than 290,000 GWh […]

Climate Roundup: Power Industry Emissions Drop Dramatically

10 Dec

Cleaner power production across the U.S. since 2010 has cut the yearly toll of health and environmental damage from making electricity from $245 billion to $133 billion. Most of the benefits of cleaner power production are enjoyed in eastern states, like West Virginia. The east has seen a reduction in reliance on coal power, as […]

Shorts

10 Dec

A dozen-and-a-half Democratic U.S. Senators called on the newest member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to abstain from voting on energy matters on which he previously took strong stances, including on fossil fuel subsidies. Bernard McNamee played an active role in seeking price supports for nuclear and coal resources from FERC when working at […]

Power Demand Growth to Remain Tempered, CEC Says

6 Dec

Power demand through 2030 may be a bit lower than what the California Energy Commission projected in an official 2017 forecast adopted earlier this year due to lower economic growth. Commission staff outlined the new, lower preliminary projection at a workshop held Dec. 6 as part of the agency’s 2018 demand forecast update. “Our forecasting […]

Climate Roundup: More State Money Needed to Hit 5M EV Mark

4 Dec

Dramatic increases in investments in both charging stations and subsidies to auto purchasers are needed to get 5 million electric vehicles on the state’s roads by 2030, according to estimates presented this week to the California Air Resources Board. Meeting the 2030 goal will cost the state billions of dollars over the next ten years. […]

CA’s Grid Faces Growing Fire Danger

28 Nov

Fire risks are expected to significantly rise in the Northern California foothills and Sierra Nevada Mountains by the end of the century, increasing threats to transmission systems, said Larry Dale of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and coauthor of a new report on fire and climate risks in California. Fire impacts to the grid are […]

Undercurrents: LADWP Aims for 55% Renewables

27 Nov

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board Nov. 27 approved forwarding the muni’s 2017 integrated resource plan to the California Energy Commission to satisfy the legislatively required 50 percent renewable standard by 2030. The plan, which is required to show how LADWP plans to meet SB 350’s 50 percent renewable energy mandate by […]

CEC Debates if Lithium Will Be the New Oil

19 Nov

The potential for recovering lithium from geothermal brine in the Salton Sea to meet the surging growth in use of batteries for electric vehicles and energy storage is high, but faces big hurdles. Tapping into the lithium potential, according to California Energy Commissioner David Hochschild, “could be an important part of California’s energy future.” He […]

Undercurrents: No High Use Charge with TOU Rates

13 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission is moving to default time-of-use rates for residential electricity ratepayers. But one of the catches is that the new default rate to begin next year will eliminate surcharges on energy hogs, according to speakers at the CPUC’s residential rate hearing held Nov. 13. When you take away the high energy […]

CEC Eyes How to Make V2G a Reality

30 Oct

California’s increasing number of electric cars presents a major opportunity for storing excess electric power from the grid and then feeding the grid in times of need, say state officials and clean energy policy advocates. Yet, much work remains to turn the idea into a reality. Storing excess power in electric vehicles and then dispatching […]

Correction

30 Oct

Using the California Energy Commission’ s 2016 power content label, Current mistakenly reported last week that Alameda Municipal Power did not meet the state’s 25 percent renewable portfolio standard  by 2016. The power content label and RPS measure different aspects of an entity’s renewable generation. The former provides an annual snapshot of an entity’s entire generation mix, including the percentages of renewable electricity […]