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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 […]

CCAs Prevail on Central Procurement Legislation

10 Jul

In the face of stiff and broad-based opposition, a state Senate committee July 10 declined to advance a bill to create a central power procurement authority to meet resource adequacy requirements. Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) could not muster the seven votes required to get his bill, AB 56, through the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications […]

The Buzz

3 Jul

Expected legislation incorporating the Governor’s wish list for a catastrophic wildfire recovery fund to bail out private utilities facing big liabilities is to get its first airing July 5. The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approves bills shifting the cost of supply shortages to energy providers that fall short  and increasing the efficiency of […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

Wildfire Risk Reduction Bills Pass

26 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on Wednesday approved bills seeking to reduce the risk of utility-sparked wildfires and ensure that all energy providers meet state renewable requirements and follow their integrated resource plans. At a June 26 hearing, the committee passed SB 247, which would give CalFire authority over the utilities’ mandated wildfire safety […]

PG&E Creditors Propose $30B Reorganization Plan

26 Jun

A group of Pacific Gas & Electric bondholders and unsecured creditors are pushing a $30 billion financial health plan for the bankrupt utility that would be backed principally by new equity. The plan filed by the Ad Hoc Committee of Unsecured Noteholders June 25 asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali to end ahead of […]

Undercurrents: East Bay Energy Inks 200 MW of Clean Energy Deals

24 Jun

The East Bay Community Energy June 24 signed four contracts for 213.5 MW of wind and solar energy and battery storage projects. One of the four deals is a 10-year agreement for 20 MW of energy storage to provide resource adequacy. It is to partially replace the 40-year old polluting 165 MW Oakland power plant […]

Undercurrents: Trump Pulls Plug on Clean Power Plan

19 Jun

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule on June 19 to repeal the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. “Americans want reliable energy that they can afford,” said Wheeler at a news conference to announce the action. It will take effect as soon as the rule is published in the Federal Register. […]

Shorts

3 Jun

Updated June 6. East Bay Community Energy inked a ten-year contract with Vistra Energy to receive resource adequacy capacity from a 20-MW/80-MWh battery energy storage project that will allow the 165 MW fuel oil-fired Oakland Power Plant to close.  The contract is part of the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative, a plan developed earlier to replace […]

The Buzz

16 May

It is better late than never for Southern California Edison, which finally gets its 2018-2020 rate case approved. State energy regulators okay a revenue requirement for 2018 of nearly $5.2 billion. Over the three-year period, Edison will reap a 4 percent increase, not counting recovery of its wildfire safety costs. Utility regulators this week also […]

PG&E Found Liable for 2018 Camp Fire

15 May

After the stock market closed May 15, CalFire quietly announced that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for the state’s most destructive fire: the 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County. “After a very meticulous and thorough investigation, CalFire has determined that the Camp Fire was caused by electrical transmission lines owned and operated by Pacific […]

Fog City Explores Take Over of PG&E Wires

14 May

If San Francisco replaced bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric’s power delivery services and assets with its public utility, the city could reap considerable benefits. That is according to an explorative study by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff released May 13. “While any sort of acquisition of PG&E property would be a lengthy process, […]

Undercurrents: Utilities Warn of Power Shutoffs

6 May

The state’s three big investor-owned power utilities are launching an advertising campaign to let Californians know they’ll be routinely shutting off electrical service in fire-prone areas during wind storms. As part of their public information campaign, the utilities are urging the state’s 11 million residents who live in elevated fire risk areas to prepare emergency […]

The Buzz

2 May

PG&E’s first quarter earnings this year are far from rosy, but not as grim as expected. Earnings take an expected hit from wildfire, bankruptcy and safety expenses, which PG&E hopes to more than recoup from energy regulators and ultimately ratepayers. Southern California Edison’s parent earnings rise but that doesn’t stop its CEO from whining that […]

Undercurrents

1 May

Updated May 2 The California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal outlining the criteria and methodology for utilities to recovery wildfire expenses under SB 901 is being challenged by a group of stakeholders. Specifically being contested is staff’s restricted definition of “customer harm.” It fails to include “harm involved in the form of funds paid out […]

Wildfire Catastrophe Fund Bill Clears Key Panel

25 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee backed a measure to establish a state-organized wildfire insurance fund that utilities could pay into in the absence of adequate fire liability policies in the insurance market. Meeting April 25, the panel approved AB 235, The California Wildfire Catastrophe Fund Act by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (R-Yucca Valley), on a […]

CPUC Calls for 12,000 MW of Renewables

25 Apr

State utility regulators April 25 acted on the first integrated resource plans from 48 power providers in California under their jurisdiction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved plans from 20 load serving entities. It also exempted nine from the planning requirement, and determined that another 19 submitted inadequate plans. Overall, according to Commissioner Liane Randolph, […]

Senate Panel Backs Irrigation Big Hydro as Renewable

24 Apr

A state Senate committee April 24 voted to let the Turlock and Modesto Irrigation Districts meet their renewable portfolio standard requirements with power generated by the 203 MW Don Pedro Hydropower Project on the Tuolumne River. Today, power from such large dams is not considered eligible as a renewable resource. The panel also backed bills […]

Shorts

23 Apr

East Bay Community Energy April 23 launched a new grant program that will provide up to $40,000 to applicants for energy-related projects that deliver local benefits to targeted communities in areas such as job creation, workforce development, economic empowerment, and climate and social resilience. Eligible projects will include community-shared solar, energy conservation retrofits, workforce development […]

Lawmakers Lukewarm on Central Procurement Bill

10 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 10 backed legislation to establish a central authority to serve as the state’s chief backstop power purchasing agent, but only after watering it down because of stiff opposition. Before this week’s hearing, Southern California Edison, publicly owned utilities, community choice aggregators, and some environmental groups, opposed the measure […]