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The Buzz

26 Mar

Incessant telephonic disruptions don’t stop state regulators from approving 25,000 MW of new clean energy projects to cut the sector’s emission to 46 megatons of carbon emissions by 2030.  Also during their challenging public telephone business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously okays $200 million in building decarbonization pilots. It also extends a multi-million […]

OPINIONATED: Setting the Record Straight on SMUD’s Community Solar

17 Mar

Editor’s Note: SMUD responds to criticism of its Solar Shares program raised in a March 2 editorial by local solar advocate Dave Rosenfeld. SMUD’s community solar program was approved by the California Energy Commission last month.  California’s 2019 Building Standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and included a requirement for the use of solar […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

Agencies Get More Serious About COVID-19

12 Mar

What a difference a few days makes. Regulatory agencies are now aligned in their concern over the coronavirus, a week after the state grid operator announced it was discontinuing its in-person meetings and interactions to minimize the spread of the  disease. The California Public Utilities Commission held its March 12 business meeting as usual but […]

CEC Awards $25M in Energy Reduction Grants & Loans

11 Mar

The California Energy Commission approved $19.4 million in grants to help food producers in the state cut their energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Also at this week’s March 11 meeting, newly confirmed commissioner Patty Monahan applauded the agency for pressing forward on transportation electrification with its upcoming Integrated Energy Policy Report. It will […]

Open Energy Meetings & COVID-19

10 Mar

State and federal agencies and organizations do not see eye to eye on the threat posed by the new coronavirus. Most cautious so far is the grid operator. Last week, the California Independent System Operator announced it was switching all of its in-person gatherings, including Board of Governors, Western Energy Imbalance Market and Market Surveillance […]

Offshore Wind Workshop Blows Through Sacramento

9 Mar

California has the fifth-largest installed wind resource capacity in the United States, at 6 GW as of the end of 2019, but none of it includes offshore wind. The California Energy Commission is promoting offshore wind development because it can help the state reach it’s 60% renewable mandate by 2030. “Supporting innovation and lowering cost […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Shorts

5 Mar

Gov. Gavin Newsom on March 4 reappointed two California Independent System Operator board members. Ashutosh Bhagwat and Angelina Galiteva were given additional three-year terms by the governor. Both members are serving third terms. Steve Berberich, ISO president and CEO, who retires in June, said the re-appointees and the executive leadership will continue to work together […]

Energy Commission Proposes 3-Year Clean Transportation Funding Cycle

3 Mar

With electric vehicle sales an order of magnitude below where they need to be to match California’s carbon reduction goals, state agency staff proposed tripling support for electric vehicle infrastructure and extending the funding period from one to three years. The bulk of the $384.2 million in Clean Transportation Program funds discussed at a California […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

JUICE: Smart Inverters Need Smarter Rules

26 Feb

Rarely do inverters make front page news. But they are the stars of the 2019 Integrated Energy Policy Report approved last week by the California Energy Commission. It calls on the energy agencies and grid operator to accelerate research, development, and use of smart inverters to “enhance power quality, decrease grid disturbances, and participate in […]

Clean Economy Hopes & Hurdles Highlighted in IEPR Report

25 Feb

California has successfully decoupled economic growth from energy consumption, a fact highlighted in the new Integrated Energy Policy Report by the California Energy Commission. That’s an indicator that California can attain carbon neutrality before midcentury. But the report says much more work is needed to get there. Between 2000 and 2018, California’s gross state product […]

Will the Salton Sea Become Lithium Valley?

13 Feb

The California Energy Commission took a deep dive into the potential for extracting lithium from geothermal plants along the Salton Sea during a Feb. 12 symposium at Stanford University. Removing lithium from the mineral rich and very hot brine in this region in Southern California is full of promise because it’s potentially a world-class source […]

The Buzz

24 Jan

FERC member Bernard McNamee bids adieu to the agency. Whether to allow coastal power plants that use huge quantities of water to cool down is still at issue. Center stage are proposed extensions of the legal deadlines, set in 2010, for four plants along the Southern California coast. Under an agreement between Pacific Gas & […]

CEC Okays Diesel Engine at Geothermal Plant & PV Exemption

23 Jan

The California Energy Commission Jan. 22 approved adding a diesel engine to a geothermal power plant, exempting new residential buildings from its photovoltaic requirements, and signing off on $2.7 million in clean energy grants. The CEC also launched a small energy project proceeding for a new data center, which could allow diesel backup generators. A […]

CA Agencies Work to Fuel Large Vehicles with Clean Hydrogen

21 Jan

State energy and air pollution regulators’ efforts to make California carbon neutral by mid century include support for new and emerging sources of renewable hydrogen to fuel vehicles, large and small, private and public. The California Air Resources Board mandated in 2018 that all public transit bus fleets in California be zero-emission by 2040. Fuel […]

CEC Aims to Bolster Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Electric Cars

21 Jan

To help California meet its mandate that 60% of state electricity resources be from renewable energy by 2030, and be 100% carbon-free 15 years later, a diversity of clean power products is being pursued. That includes renewable hydrogen. Solar power, wind power, geothermal, biogas and energy storage are expected to be part of the renewable […]

The Buzz

9 Jan

The start of the New Year brings bold federal and state clean energy and equity measures. It also brings closer a looming deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric. There is a huge push to get PG&E out of bankruptcy by the end of June. Meeting that deadline will allow it to access the multi-billion dollar […]