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Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

Advanced Nuclear Reactors Gain Bipartisan Steam

13 Sep

The allure of developing advanced nuclear power technologies not vulnerable to reactor meltdowns gained ground in the U.S. Senate this week. Bipartisan legislation was introduced to direct the Department of Energy to build a fast neutron-capable research reactor. The bipartisan bill, S. 3422, is sponsored by nine senators, including Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), […]

Kavanaugh’s Record Largely Rejects EPA Power to Reduce Pollution

6 Sep

The vast majority of rulings by the controversial Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh have invalidated air quality and other environmental protection rules, including rejecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, warn clean energy advocates and others. Kavanaugh, who has sat on the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit […]

Undercurrents: Exit Fee Proposal Bashed by Mayors

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. The mayors of major Bay Area cities Sept. 3 protested a proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission released last month that would raise exits fees for community choice aggregators. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the tentative decision by Commissioner Carla […]

Undercurrents

14 Aug

In the wake of the departure of Robert Powelson from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, President Donald Trump has signaled he may nominate Bernard McNamee, head of the Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, to fill the vacancy. McNamee was involved in developing a Department of Energy proposed rule calling for out-of-market payments to coal […]

Shorts

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission published the final version of its paper on customer choice for electricity Aug. 7, but it makes no specific policy recommendations. The  final paper proposes scheduling the development of  a separate action plan by this fall that may outline recommendations to deal with the changes sweeping the state’s power industry. […]

Both Sides of the House Cheer Storage

18 Jul

Battery energy storage technology drew bipartisan praise July 18 during a House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing on the growing role of the technology in the nation’s power grid. Energy storage, said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), is increasingly “important” to maintaining the nation’s energy supply and helping  “build resilience” in the power grid. Rep. Bobby […]

High Court Nominee Rulings Scare Clean Air Advocates

11 Jul

D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh, nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday evening, wrote key rulings that restricted federal agencies’ ability to reduce climate pollution, including from power plants. “Kavanaugh’s views put the demands of polluters and big corporations before the rights of people, and he cannot be trusted to protect our communities, our […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

Nuclear & Coal Bailout to Hike Home Utility Bills

7 Jun

Californians could be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for power if the Trump Administration advances a plan to bail out coal and nuclear power plant owners and operators. It would cost the nation’s electricity ratepayers more than $30 billion annually on their power bills, skeptics say about the subsidies under discussion in Washington. […]

FERC Transmission Planning Process Criticized

10 May

Lawmakers May 10 heard various ideas about how to increase the efficiency and reduce the cost of transmission projects across the U.S. in response to a changing energy industry. Strategies ranged from shrinking to expanding the federal transmission planning process. Former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Member Tony Clark said at a House Energy & Commerce […]

FERC to Scrutinize CA Power Transmission Costs

17 Apr

Federal energy regulators are considering complaints that Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison evaded federal transmission planning standards to pump up their charges. The dispute comes at the same time that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission told Congress this week that grid operators like the California Independent System Operator need to do a […]

Undercurrents

12 Apr

The Natural Resources Agency was urged to alter its climate adaptation work to focus less on fighting climate-driven disasters, such as wildfires, and more on helping prevent climate change impacts, during an April 11 Senate Environmental Quality Committee hearing. “We know we have dead trees and poor soil management in forests,” said Committee Chair Bob […]

The Buzz

5 Apr

Clashing recipes to determine how much community choice organizations must pay the private utilities for their stranded power purchase contracts land in the California Public Utilities Commission’s kitchen. The launch of California’s expected biggest community choice program is not fully baked. The Clean Power Alliance of Southern California’s June debut is limited to two cities […]

Undercurrents: PCIA Struggle Heats Up

4 Apr

Clashing proposals on revising or replacing the California Public Utilities Commission’s controversial power charge indifference adjustment were submitted to regulators April 2. This cost adjustment method determines how much community choice organizations must pay the private utilities for their stranded power purchase contracts. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas […]

JUICE: CA May Have to Hold & Fold in Auto Standards Game

3 Apr

In a MAGA moment, The Trump Administration moved to weaken federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and pickup trucks. It also signaled April 2 that it’s reconsidering the Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California to set greenhouse gas standards, which the Obama Administration adopted at the federal level. At issue globally is […]

House Considers Cyber Security Bills for U.S. Energy System

14 Mar

A House panel took up legislation to guard the nation’s energy systems against cyber attacks amid growing concern about potential threats to the electric grid, pipelines, and liquefied natural gas import and export terminals. “The increasingly interconnected nature of our energy systems are changing how we prepare for and respond to emergencies that threaten the […]

Undercurrents

1 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission March 1 approved 5-0 the appointment of 10 members to the newly created Disadvantaged Communities Advisory Group. The members are to provide the CPUC and California Energy Commission advice on whether proposed clean energy and pollution reduction programs would benefit struggling communities in polluted areas. Creation of this advisory group […]

Undercurrents

12 Feb

President Trump’s proposed $30.6 billion 2019 budget for the Department of Energy would cut annual funding for energy-related programs at the agency by $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the proposal “decimates our nation’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which will increase energy costs for consumers, undermine clean […]

BLM Reopens Desert Conservation Plan

2 Feb

The Bureau of Land Management may expand the acreage open to renewable energy siting and broadband facilities in California under the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The potential expansion was announced Feb. 1. “We need to reduce burdens on all domestic energy development, including solar, wind and other renewables,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for […]