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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. […]

Resolution of Spent Fuel Storage Remains Illusive

27 Jun

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee June 27 attempted again to break the stalemate on moving growing levels of spent nuclear waste stored onsite at power plants and elsewhere into one or more licensed long-term waste repositories. “Our nation’s nuclear industry is critically important, but also faces a number of challenges, and one […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Clash on Auto Standards

20 Jun

Legislators and policy makers displayed wide differences regarding the future of automotive standards aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions June 20 during a joint hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection & Commerce and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees. The panels delved into the Trump Administration’s plan to freeze Obama era standards modeled […]

House Democrats Push Pipeline Safety

19 Jun

A House panel is aiming to place new requirements on oil and gas pipeline operators and toughen federal enforcement standards as part of an upcoming reauthorization of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for fiscal years 2020-23. Toward that end, the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee held a hearing on two bills circulated […]

Federal Energy Efficiency Backed by Both Parties

17 Jun

Federal lawmakers June 14 introduced bipartisan legislation to make federal buildings more energy and water efficient. The bill, the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), who respectively serve as chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Energy & Natural […]

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 […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

Energy Storage Draws Bipartisan Praise in U.S. Senate

4 Jun

Energy storage gained stature in Congress this week during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 4. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, called storage an “innovative technology” that is adding resilience and economic efficiency to the nation’s grid while reducing greenhouse gases. She noted that an increasing number of Alaskan […]

Climate Roundup: House Democrat Eyes Clean Energy Funding

22 May

The House Energy & Commerce Committee this week began work on advancing the “LIFT America Act,” which calls for spending $33 billion on clean energy programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. “All of these investments will help us take an important step in combating the climate crisis, while also […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Focus on Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology

21 May

Updated May 22. A U.S. Senate panel heard encouraging news about the advance of renewable power and energy efficiency this week despite the ongoing drum beat in Washington about the need to preserve coal power plants and drill for more oil. Wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of power over the next […]

Inside The Beltway: Sparks Fly Over DOE Budget

9 May

Energy Secretary Rick Perry covered the water front of U.S. energy issues May 9 during a House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2020. Perry told lawmakers that the department’s $31.7 billion request for the coming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would help sustain “recent historic economic […]

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 […]

Shorts

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]

Juice: Green Power vs. Green Jobs?

16 Apr

The New Green Deal, a 14-page national resolution to clean up the environment and simultaneously address social inequity by creating new job opportunities and strengthening the social safety net, lacks the force of law. But, it is a powerful, timely idea and symbol that’s causing lots of people to cheer or chastise it. Its potency […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Spotlight Efficiency & Global Warming

11 Apr

The House Energy & Commerce Committee during an April 10 hearing discussed eight bills aimed at advancing energy efficiency in buildings and helping blue collar workers transition to green collar jobs. “Efficiency work supports thousands of good-paying jobs at small businesses in every state,” said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who chairs the committee. “The eight […]

House Hearing Contrasts State Climate Action & Fed Inaction

2 Apr

Updated April 4 State clean energy laws and policies, from renewable energy mandates to electric vehicles, along with community climate protection initiatives, were touted for increasing environmental and economic health during an April 2 hearing in the House Energy & Commerce Committee. A light was shined on these policies and practices also to put the […]

DOE Slammed for Stalling Efficiency Rules

7 Mar

The Department of Energy’s delay in implementing energy efficiency standards for several products was heavily criticized by Democratic lawmakers, but largely defended by their Republican colleagues. That was in spite of the fact that both parties during a March 7 hearing by the House Energy & Commerce Committee insisted efficiency was a bipartisan issue. “DOE has […]

Inside the Beltway: Green Jobs & Carbon Capture

26 Feb

Updated Feb. 27. It was the yin and the yang in Congress Feb. 27 as a committee of the Republican-controlled Senate held a hearing on carbon capture and sequestration and a panel in the Democratically-dominated House focused on green collar renewable energy jobs. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a hearing on the […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved its 2018 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update, which gives priority to building emissions reductions. The vote cast at the Feb. 20 business meeting, is “a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities,” according to Pierre Del Forge with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the push to boost energy efficiency, electricity from […]

Energy Cyber Security Advances, Lawmakers Told

14 Feb

A key U.S. Senate committee took a deep dive into the state of cyber security in the nation’s energy industry this week as increasing digitalization and automation open the nation’s power grid and pipelines to vulnerabilities. “While advances in technology are always welcome and can help us run things more efficiently,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski […]