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ISO Symposium Focuses on the Future

18 Oct

California’s grid operator during its annual stakeholder symposium in Sacramento envisioned a future filled with super-efficient autonomous electric vehicles, commonplace energy storage systems, an integrated western grid, and the chance that energy technologies yet unimagined will emerge. Speakers at the two-day California Independent System Operator meeting Oct. 17 and 18 also discussed how a rapidly […]

Undercurrents

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 18. To meet California’s ambitious 100 percent clean energy mandate, natural gas-fired space and water heaters need to be phased out. The ideal replacement is efficient electric heat pump technology, according to a new report, Decarbonization of Heating Energy Use in California Buildings: Technology, Markets, Impacts, and Policy Solutions. “Switching to electric heat […]

Shorts

15 Oct

The 48 MW McGuinness Hills 3 geothermal power plant is slated to begin providing power to the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power by the end of the year, the muni’s staff told its board Oct. 16. The project is the second of a 177 MW three-stage geothermal procurement by the muni in Northern […]

Undercurrents: CEC Funding Falls for Emissions-Free Vehicles

4 Oct

As California strives to shift cars and other vehicles to electric and other greenhouse gas free or low emissions technologies, funding from a key California Energy Commission incentive program was cut. The Energy Commission adopted a $165.2 million 2018-19 spending plan for its Alternative & Renewable Fuel & Vehicle Technology Program Oct. 3. The allocation […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

Brown Signs More Energy Bills

1 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown wrapped up action on energy bills passed this year, signing into law measures to enhance consumer protection, meet resource adequacy on the grid with non-generating resources, and extend subsidies for self-generation equipment. Brown signed SB 1087 by Sen. Richard Roth (D-Riverside) late in the day on Sept. 27. The new law, according […]

Juice: Small Trumps Big in the Legislature

25 Sep

Sacramento’s final legislative scorecard for 2018 shows that small-scale, localized, and free market approaches to the state’s electricity future were winners, while large-scale strategies based on continuing the dominant role of monopoly utilities were losers. The biggest harbinger of what the future is likely to look like was the failure of AB 813 by Assemblymember […]

Brown Signs SB 901 & Bills Impacting Energy Sector

24 Sep

A new state law allows utilities to borrow money through bonds to cover uninsured wildfire costs subject to California Public Utilities Commission review. The new law, SB 901, also authorizes spending $200 million a year from state carbon cap-and-trade revenue for the next five years to reduce wildfire fuel by thinning forests and conducting controlled […]

Shorts

24 Sep

The Los Angeles area leads metropolitan centers in clean energy employment and the San Francisco Bay region is fifth in clean energy jobs, according to a ranking by Environmental Entrepreneurs Sept. 25. Los Angeles has 162,688 clean energy jobs and the San Francisco area has 87,695. In second, third, and fourth place are New York, […]

Two Dozen Senate Energy Bills Sent to Governor

4 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown has to decide if a number of bills should become law, including Senate measures to increase direct access for businesses, overhaul utility energy efficiency programs, increase mandated energy storage levels, and create new incentives for near zero emissions space and water heating in buildings. Brown also has to decide whether to sign […]

Bills Bolster Private Utilities’ Bottom Line & Building Emission Cuts

4 Sep

In a last-minute rewrite with minimal transparency, lawmakers passed a bill shielding Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders from massive wildfire liability but lacked similar gusto to pass legislation allowing for a regionalization of California’s electric grid. The grid regionalization bill, the two-year AB 813, remained stuck in the Rules Committee throughout the final two weeks […]

Shorts

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. In-state generation capacity at the end of 2017 stood at 79,825 MW, according to a California Energy Commission tally. While most types of generation remained relatively unchanged over the past year, CEC noted utility-scale photovoltaic solar capacity increased by 1,026 MW to 9,769 MW. In terms of actual generation of power, natural […]

Pasadena Plan Adds 150 MW of New Solar

27 Aug

Pasadena Water & Power rolled out its first integrated resources plan under SB 350 to a standing room only crowd Aug. 23. It promises to cut greenhouse gases 91 percent from their 1990 level and provide customers with power that’s at least 63 percent renewable by 2039. Under the draft plan, the muni will not […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

East Bay Choice Adopts $4.5M/Year Plan

19 Jul

Northern California’s newest community energy program unanimously adopted a $22.5 million, five-year business plan to develop local energy resources, electrify transportation, increase energy efficiency and create local jobs. “This will help us not only provide local clean energy that is more affordable, but also investments in local jobs and development,” City of Berkeley Mayor Jesse […]

JUICE: Gridding Our Teeth

17 Jul

As the deadline for voting on legislation to allow California’s grid to become a regional entity gets closer, debate rages on as to whether it would be a boom or bust. A report released July 17, favoring removing barriers to establishing a Western Independent System Operator, warns of the inherent complexities of the legislation, AB […]

The Buzz

13 Jul

Editor’s Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6. State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed […]

Edison’s Controversial Local Clean Energy Deals Win Approval

12 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 to allow Southern California Edison to recover more than $300 million from ratepayers for 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements slated for the constrained western Los Angeles sub-basin. “This will drive market transformation,” said Mike Picker, CPUC president, during the agency’s July 12 business […]

Energy Commission Okay Grants & Local Efficiency Rules

11 Jul

The California Energy Commission continued its pattern of funding microgrids. During its July 11 business meeting, the commission approved on a 4-0 vote a $5 million grant for a microgrid to support the reopening of a month-balled anaerobic digester at the City of Rialto’s wastewater facility. According to CEC staff, the microgrid in San Bernardino […]

The Buzz

28 Jun

The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs. A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating […]