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CA Grid in Flux, Picker Notes

20 Jul

State energy policy stands “at a unique point in time” with the chief goal ahead being to figure out the right mix of fossil fuel resources needed to keep power affordable and reliable, California’s top utility regulator told an Assembly committee July 19. California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker told the Assembly Utilities & […]

CEC Faces More Pressure to Reject Puente Power Project

20 Jul

Opposition to NRG’s proposed Puente power plant at the site of an existing power facility on the beach in Oxnard is continuing to build. Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks declared her “strong opposition,” and along with others, urged relying on preferred resources. “As renewable energy has become cost-effective and abundant, there is an important question […]

Shorts

18 Jul

The House Energy & Commerce Committee began delving into how the nation’s electricity markets are functioning July 18. During the first of two hearings, the general assessment by a panel of utility and generator representatives was that the nation’s power industry is in the midst of rapid change, which is driving down the wholesale price […]

The Buzz

14 Jul

The governor’s carbon cap-and-trade renewable legislation passes through a Senate panel after a six-hour hearing in which environmental justice activists and local and regional air districts denounced the measure. The oil company-friendly bill package was introduced Monday. Gov. Jerry Brown’s cap-and-trade deal appears to be more about cementing his legacy than it is about improving […]

The Buzz

7 Jul

Taking the “dis” out of disadvantaged communities was center stage for lawmakers and regulators this week.  Reversing the trend of rising climate emissions and co-pollutants in poor local neighborhoods was the focus of a joint legislative Climate Change Policy panel.  Meanwhile, the CPUC zeroed in on making environmental justice  energy programs just. The Utilities & […]

Cap-&-Trade Impacts Poor Neighborhoods

6 Jul

How to ensure both greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants are reduced in struggling polluted communities was the focus of a Joint Legislative Climate Change Policies Committee hearing held July 5. The panel members seek “to understand what is happening, and what work needs to be done,” said chair Assemblymember Edward Garcia (D-Coachella). While overall […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

Agencies Seek to Get a Grip on Self Generation

3 Jul

State energy agencies and the grid operator are grappling with how to forecast and better measure growing levels of distributed renewable energy flowing into the distribution and transmission systems. Unlike the high voltage system, power flows to and from lower voltage power lines are less transparent. No “adequate methods exist” for forecasting how distributed energy […]

CEC Continues to Grant Big Clean Energy Bucks

14 Jun

The California Energy Commission June 14 approved well over $50 million in grants to advance efficiency and alternative energy use in the transportation, natural gas and electricity sectors. Among the many grants approved on 3-0 votes was more than $20 million for nine new hydrogen refueling stations in California. The alternative fuel stations are expected […]

Massachusetts Bests CA in Energy Efficiency

14 Jun

California’s three investor-owned utilities are among the nation’s top ten when it comes to energy efficiency programs, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy on June 14. The top two investor-owned utilities in the nation were Eversource and National Grid, which both operate in Massachusetts. Pacific Gas & Electric […]

100% Renewable Power Bill Advances

1 Jun

Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of a story originally posted on May 31. The state Senate passed Sen. Kevin de León’s SB 100, which calls for 100 percent renewable power by 2045 and advances the deadline for moving to 50 percent renewable power from 2030 to 2026.  The measure passed on a 25-13 […]

The Buzz

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric fails to garner an extra $1.5 billion for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, as the CPUC stands by an administrative law judge’s decision. FERC moves a bit closer to a quorum as a Senate panel holds a hearing on President Trump’s nominees. In a report that’s, well, quite predictable, CARB […]

So CA Preferred Resources & Coastal Plant Replacements Lag

22 May

Southern California faces no shortage of generation or power import capacity this summer although actual deployment of “preferred resources” procured by investor-owned utilities is lagging. However, a shortage of natural gas due to the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field could pose a risk to energy reliability this summer. That scenario […]

San Jose is Largest U.S. City to Choose Community Choice

18 May

The city of San Jose is forming a community choice aggregation program after its city council voted unanimously May 16 to approve the step. The program should become operational in April of 2018 if all goes as planned. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said that with the vote the city will become “the largest” in […]

CEC Grants Big Clean Energy Bucks

10 May

The California Energy Commission approved more than $55 million in grants May 10 to promote less polluting ports, electric vehicles, alternative vehicle fuels and building energy efficiency. Two Southern California ports and the surrounding poor communities are to reap the benefits of a $25 million in grants for zero and low emission vehicles. The impact […]

Opinionated: The Energy Efficiency Conundrum

9 May

By Todd Edmister In its well-intentioned efforts to address climate change in SB 350, the California Legislature mandated that state investor-owned utilities “double” energy savings cost-effectively by 2030. The fly in the ointment here is that SB 350’s new “doubling” requirement rests atop long-established legislation already requiring private utilities to obtain “all available energy efficiency […]

CAISO Eyes Need for Controversial Puente Project

2 May

The grid operator is poised to study whether local resource adequacy in Ventura County could be met with demand response, renewable resources, energy storage, and other preferred resources in place of building the proposed natural gas-fired Puente power plant on the beach. “We know full well that there could be other options to this, including […]

Shorts

27 Apr

The California Energy Commission approved a $390 million triennial EPIC investment plan April 27, pledging to fund research in areas considered critical to advancing the state’s clean energy aims. The plan for the Electric Program Investment Charge outlines investments the commission will make through the ratepayer funded program on projects from 2018-2020. Key objectives include […]

Energy Storage Subsidy Bill Hits End of the Road

27 Apr

An Assembly bill aimed at subsidizing utility customer-owned energy storage batteries the same way the California Solar Initiative program has subsidized rooftop solar systems for the past decade appears to have died this week.  A similar measure on the Senate side was approved earlier in the week. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee advanced a […]