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Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

The Buzz

4 May

Trump and friends‘ effort to dismantle climate protection and alternative energy laws are keeping California lawyers busy, although legislative overkill has weakened some challenges. But harm from the federal administration’s rejiggering of formulas that will turn the pluses of lower carbon emissions and energy efficient appliances into minuses is closer at hand. Back in San […]

Shorts

1 May

The California grid operator virtually kept unchanged its local capacity requirement forecast for 2019-2023.  During a short May 1 call with stakeholders, California Independent System Operator staff said that the total 2019 local capacity requirement increased by a mere 37 MW, or by less than 1 percent. For 2023, the local capacity projected need fell […]

Climate Roundup: Mixed Signals on CA Vehicle Standards Waiver

30 Apr

The fate of California’s electric vehicle requirement hangs in the balance. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt late last week told a Congressional panel he had no plans to rescind a waiver that lets the state set its own auto emissions standards. However, that was contradicted the next day by news reports indicating EPA […]

Undercurrents

25 Apr

A bill to carve out a utility procurement mandate for biomass, biogas, and geothermal power made it through an Assembly Committee April 23, but only after specific numeric requirements were axed and replaced with vague placeholder language. AB 2208 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), who represents the Geysers geothermal resource area, said her bill “will […]

Shorts

17 Apr

Energy Secretary Rick Perry this week announced almost $150 million in Department of Energy funding for renewable energy technologies. “American ingenuity is the engine of our energy economy,” said Perry. “Investing in all of our abundant energy sources, including solar technologies, will help to drive down costs and ensure that the nation leads the world […]

Undercurrents

20 Mar

As the state faces up to the loss of power that closing Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2,200 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant will create come the middle of the next decade, the California Energy Commission is eyeing areas offshore of the plant as potential candidates for placing wind power facilities. During a March 12 […]

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 […]

Shorts

13 Feb

Updated Feb. 15. The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power is purchasing biomass power from the American Renewable Power-Loyalton Biomass project in Sierra County. LADWP will get 8.9 MW of biomass energy from American Renewable for five years under the deal at a cost of $97.50 per MWh. The deal helps satisfy an obligation […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

6 Feb

The nation is destined to become a net energy importer by 2022 after being a net importer since 1953, according to the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2018, released Feb. 6. Exports of oil and gas will rise as domestic production continues to ramp up, but also as domestic demand is tempered by energy […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

Undercurrents: DOE Wants Nation to be Energy Top Dog

9 Jan

Energy dominance is a key Department of Energy goal under President Trump, a leading department official told a House panel this week. Reliable delivery of energy to consumers is another major goal. “We are closing in on our nation’s long-elusive goal of full energy independence,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette before the House […]

Shorts

11 Dec

Updated Dec. 14. Southern California Edison said Dec. 12 that fire investigators in Southern California are eyeing its facilities as a possible cause of the wildfires in the area. The utility said it will continue to cooperate with investigators. Meanwhile, it said that at least 500 of its power poles have burned and that spot […]

Shorts

28 Nov

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission appointee Richard Glick was sworn in Nov. 29. Glick, a Democrat, was senior policy advisor for the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee minority members. He, along with Kevin McIntyre, a Republican and pending FERC chair, were vetted by that panel on Sept. 7. Both were confirmed by the Senate […]

Shorts

21 Nov

The grid operator won a national award for demonstrating that solar plants equipped with smart inverters can provide a variety of grid reliability services. The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners last week gave the California Independent System Operator, First Solar, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory the “Utility Industry Innovative Pilots or Demonstration Projects […]

Effort to Dim Energy Star Faces Stiff Opposition

7 Nov

Proposed federal legislation to overhaul the popular Energy Star program, including cutting consumer protections, faced significant opposition from many lawmakers and industry officials at its first airing. The oft repeated plea during the Nov. 7 hearing by the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee was not to fix the unbroken voluntary energy efficiency labeling program. […]

Shorts

7 Nov

Coal power production is expected to increase next year largely at the expense of natural gas-fired generation, according to the Energy Information Agency’s short-term energy outlook for the nation released Nov. 7. Gas power production will be about even with coal power next year, with each representing about 31 percent of total power production, EIA […]

U.S. Energy Panel Focuses on Growing Building Energy Savings

31 Oct

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee stressed the importance of tackling inefficient energy use from the country’s building stock to reduce consumption by 30 percent. During the Oct. 31 hearing, the committee also gave Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to roll back appliance energy efficiency standards and slash the budget for energy conservation […]