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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 […]

PG&E Lines Implicated in Another Blaze

10 Oct

CalFire concluded Oct. 9 that Pacific Gas & Electric wires caused another of last year’s wildfires in Northern California, but the state agency found no violation of fire safety standards. On Oct. 8, 2017, high winds caused sagging electric lines to hit each other, sparking the Cascade Fire in Yuba County, according to CalFire. The […]

Shorts

9 Oct

A 40 year-old law that requires utilities to buy power from renewable generators and co-generators should be waived in states with competitive solicitation requirements and other measures that ensure all technologies access to the power market. That’s the recommendation to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a new white paper from the National Association of […]

Civil Rights Group Sues CARB for Climate Discrimination

3 Oct

California’s air regulators were slapped with a lawsuit charging that their greenhouse gas reduction policies and practices, specifically the 2017 scoping plan to achieve mandated carbon reductions, are racially and economically discriminatory. “California’s climate change policies, and specifically those policies that increase the cost and delay or reduce the availability of housing, that increase the […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Defends Against Trump’s Auto Standard Rollback

1 Oct

The California Air Resources Board amended its clean car standards Sept. 28 to protect the state against the Trump administration’s proposed rollback of federal auto standards. It did so by affirming what is known as the “deemed to comply” provision of California’s greenhouse gas vehicle regulation. “Today’s vote by the board ensures that California and […]

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 […]

Climate Roundup: State Decries Auto Rule Rollback

24 Sep

California officials blasted the Trump Administration’s plan to freeze automotive greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency standards set under President Barack Obama during a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency public hearing on the proposal in Fresno Sept. 24. “For most of us, this is an issue about leaning forward, not backsliding,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. […]

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 […]

SF Climate Meeting Aims to Rekindle Paris Deal, Though Views Differ

14 Sep

During the first day of the Sept. 13-14 International Global Climate Action Summit promoted by Gov. Jerry Brown there were clashes inside and outside the hall over continuing fossil fuel use, as well as advancing carbon markets. “Keep fossil fuels in the soil. Honor our next generation,” Kanyon Sayers-Roods, Indian Canyon Muraun Band of Ohlone […]

Kavanaugh’s Record Largely Rejects EPA Power to Reduce Pollution

6 Sep

The vast majority of rulings by the controversial Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh have invalidated air quality and other environmental protection rules, including rejecting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gases, warn clean energy advocates and others. Kavanaugh, who has sat on the U.S Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit […]

LADWP Reviews Tough Power Line Fire Safety Rules

5 Sep

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board  heard that the muni’s  wildfire construction safety standards for power lines exceed state requirements, satisfying a state law enacted in 2016. LADWP changed its standards ten years ago after the catastrophic 2007 wildfires in San Diego that were partly sparked by San Diego Gas & Electric […]

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 […]

Utility Wildfire Liability Bill Rises from the Ash

29 Aug

New life was breathed into legislation to reduce utilities’ wildfire liability Aug. 28 that seemingly had been left in the char last week. SB 901 was declared all but dead and subsequent scheduled legislative conference committee hearings on the measure were cancelled. Then, the bill was overhauled behind closed doors. Few committee members or stakeholders […]

Report Focuses on Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change

28 Aug

Global warming will have worsening impacts on California including more destructive wildfires, a hotter and drier climate, reduced water supply, and soaring electricity demand, plus billions of dollars in costs, according to a new state report. “California is one of the most ‘climate-challenged’ regions of North America and must actively plan and implement strategies to […]

Scientists See Continued Need for Natural Gas Storage

28 Aug

A scientific panel told utility regulators Aug. 28 that California will need natural gas storage facilities into the foreseeable future to meet its energy needs. The panel, which studied the need for gas storage, as well as its impacts and potential replacement alternatives, was organized by the California Council on Science & Technology. The council […]

OPINIONATED: Go Back to Aliso Canyon Deal Drawing Board

28 Aug

By V. John White Three years ago, Aliso Canyon was home to the largest methane leak in U.S. history, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations, the release of more than 100,000 tons of potent GHG emissions, and the evacuation of more than 10,000 families. Earlier this month, the state attorney general and California Air Resources Board […]

EPA Rolls Out Clean Power Plan Replacement

21 Aug

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Aug. 21 proposed replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at cutting the power industry’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent, with the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule. The new proposed rule “would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, […]

National Flood Insurance Program Lessons for Fire-Prone CA

21 Aug

Destruction wrought by more intense and longer wildfires in California, and the challenges of financing recovery, is a problem associated with other disasters, flooding in particular. As British flood expert told the Telegraph a few years back, “A flood is the perfect burglar. It enters your home uninvited and leaves nothing behind except disaster and […]

JUICE: Fire, Fury & Finances

20 Aug

The collapse of legislative efforts to shield utilities from liability when their power lines spark wildfires—even when they’ve followed all safety rules—may be seen as a moral victory by the bill’s opponents. But, electric power ratepayers won’t be protected from higher bills in the years ahead. The effort collapsed under major pressure from consumer advocates, […]

Legislative Panel Refocuses on Flammable Fuels Reduction

15 Aug

Following three hearings on utility wildfire liability risks from strict liability, a fourth legislative conference committee hearing on wildfires focused on the huge amount of highly flammable fuels in forested areas, including 129 million dead and dying trees. “It is critical to reduce wildfire fuels,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), co-chair of the legislative conference […]