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News Roundup: $494B for Clean Transportation in House Bill, Little Action in CARB Auction

3 Jun

Almost $500 billion would be invested in the U.S. transportation sector, including electric vehicle charging stations and expanded public transit, under a bill amended by the House Transportation Committee. The Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America Act also would address climate adaptation with investments in fortified transportation infrastructure. […]

Guest Juice: Blockchain for Bitcoin and DER

18 May

by Wayne Hicks A common vision for the future of California and the nation’s energy grid involves homeowners selling unused power generated from rooftop solar panels to others in their communities, and working together to help ensure the reliability, resiliency, and security of the power grid everyone uses. Sounds great in theory. But how can […]

The Buzz

14 May

The massive hole in the upcoming state budget caused by the pandemic does not keep Gov. Gavin Newsom from adding funds to protect against wildfires and its fallout.  It is another story for climate protection, however. Covid-19 also is responsible for destroying huge numbers of jobs in energy efficiency, renewables and other alternative energy sectors […]

CA Budget Plan Adds Funds for Fire Protection but Subtracts for Climate

14 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest spending blueprint for 2020 to 2021 increases funding for wildfire prevention and safeguards funds for reducing the impacts of power shutoffs despite a $54 billion deficit created by the pandemic. The bad news on the climate front is that the latest proposal eliminates the five-year $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond slated […]

Pandemic Pounds CA Green Energy Jobs

13 May

The energy efficiency, renewables, electric cars, energy storage and clean fuels industries in the U.S. have gotten hammered by the pandemic, with those in California suffering the biggest blow, according to a report released May 13. There were 105,443 clean energy jobs lost in March and April in the Golden State, with 77,869 of those […]

Juice: Brass Knuckles

12 May

Metal fighting devices placed on a person’s knuckles “concentrate a punch’s force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area,” increasing the harm to the intended target, according to Wikipedia. The Trump Administration has popularized the use of the functional equivalent of these thuggish fighting tools. They also appear back in fashion at […]

Shorts

12 May

Updated March 13 The colorful S. David Freeman, who headed the state’s largest public municipal power agencies, died at 94 years of age. Freeman also was head of the short-lived California Power Authority created during the 2000-01 energy crisis by former Gov. Gray Davis. Freeman helped the state sign $42 billion in overpriced, long-term power […]

Earnings Rise for PG&E & Sempra; Decline for Edison

4 May

Utility parent companies Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. and Sempra Energy reported higher earnings for the first quarter of the year. Edison International’s earnings went south. All the subsidiary utilities reaped higher revenue in their rate cases and from wildfire funding. The companies are seeing lower income from utility bill collections because of the pandemic. […]

The Number of Energy Bills Drop During Legislative Limbo

30 Apr

The longer state legislators remain away from Sacramento, the smaller the list of energy bills expected to be taken up when they return to the state capital. The stack of measures has diminished to roughly a dozen. The Assembly is scheduled to return May 4. The Utilities and Commerce Committee is set to meet May […]

CPUC Strives to Wring Progress out of Pandemic

23 Apr

An April 23 workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission on Covid-19 and its fallout was a study in pain. Mounting numbers of state residents cannot pay their gas and electric bills. The range of energy businesses, from those in solar, to energy efficiency to transportation electrification, are suffering layoffs, lost business and financing, and […]

Spotlight on Ratepayer Subsidies of Utility EV Charging Costs

22 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is examining two thorny questions central to the expansion of electric vehicles: How long should investor-owned utility ratepayers keep paying for the installation of new charging stations? And how long should the private utilities dominate the installations? The questions were the focus of an April 20 workshop. Intertwined with the […]

Monterey Bay Community Power Temporarily Slashes Customer Bills

13 Apr

Updated April 16 To ease the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, the Monterey Bay community aggregator broke new ground April 13 when it voted 13-0 to cut in half generation charges to all 300,000 of its customers in May and June. The rate discount will be funded by higher bills starting in July and […]

The Behind-The-Meter Frontier

9 Apr

Your home could also be your power plant, according to an April 7 article in Wired Magazine. It highlights a community housing project in Colorado that’s experimenting with advanced software that tracks the units’ solar power and directs it to where it’s needed—relaying it from those with surplus PV output to those that need more […]

Federal Clean Car Rules Officially Weakened

31 Mar

The Trump Administration followed through on its threat to rollback emission standards on new vehicles and small trucks, harming California’s and other states’ efforts to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued their final rule weakening fuel economy standards March 31. Annual carbon […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

The Buzz

12 Mar

The rising threat of the new coronavirus gets state and federal agencies in gear.  A few days earlier, regulators and other energy entities don’t agree on how to respond. The state grid operator is the first to take major precautions, discontinuing its in-person meetings to thwart the possible spread of COVID-19 pathogens. With no fanfare, […]

CEC Awards $25M in Energy Reduction Grants & Loans

11 Mar

The California Energy Commission approved $19.4 million in grants to help food producers in the state cut their energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. Also at this week’s March 11 meeting, newly confirmed commissioner Patty Monahan applauded the agency for pressing forward on transportation electrification with its upcoming Integrated Energy Policy Report. It will […]

Opinionated: Boom in Electric Transportation Means SoCal Jobs

9 Mar

In the 1990s, Southern California was lamenting the demise of its once thriving auto industry. But the rise of electric transportation in recent years has created a new boom, according to a report  recently issued by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.. And with that boom comes jobs, according to the report, titled “Economic […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Energy Commission Proposes 3-Year Clean Transportation Funding Cycle

3 Mar

With electric vehicle sales an order of magnitude below where they need to be to match California’s carbon reduction goals, state agency staff proposed tripling support for electric vehicle infrastructure and extending the funding period from one to three years. The bulk of the $384.2 million in Clean Transportation Program funds discussed at a California […]