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CA Leaders Defer Cap & Trade Expenditure Decisions

12 Jun

As state lawmakers race to pass a budget for the upcoming fiscal year by June 15, they’ve decided to make any final decisions about how to spend the proceeds from carbon cap-and-trade program auctions later this session. Legislative budget conferees agreed that more time is needed to resolve substantial differences in both the amount of […]

PG&E Stock Hit by Mounting Potential Fire Liability

11 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric shares took a beating June 11 after CalFire revealed last Friday that the utility’s power lines were involved in starting 12 more wildfires north of San Francisco last fall. Increasing liability for PG&E is that CalFire alleged the utility violated state fire protection standards in eight of those blazes. Earlier this […]

The Buzz

8 Jun

The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators’ door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos. Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

Nuclear & Coal Bailout to Hike Home Utility Bills

7 Jun

Californians could be paying hundreds of dollars more a year for power if the Trump Administration advances a plan to bail out coal and nuclear power plant owners and operators. It would cost the nation’s electricity ratepayers more than $30 billion annually on their power bills, skeptics say about the subsidies under discussion in Washington. […]

CPUC Backs Major Utility Spending on EV Charging

31 May

The California Public Utilities Commission May 31 authorized the state’s investor-owned power utilities to spend $738 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with a heavy emphasis on electric truck and bus charging. “The only way to get to a largely carbon-free California is by substantially electrifying the state’s vast transportation system,” said […]

Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

JUICE: Dousing the Flames

29 May

Like pleading the 5th, controversial news announcements made late on Fridays are automatically suspect. End of the week releases are notorious for attempting to bury the news, be it an unpopular vote, poor earnings, and/or action that violates legal and/or regulatory requirements. Just before the start of this last three-day Memorial Day Weekend, CalFire quietly […]

LADWP Budget Serves as Lightening Rod

22 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board May 22 adopted a $5.4 billion budget for the muni’s power system for fiscal year 2018-19. Approval, however, came amid controversy over the department’s future reliance on natural gas power, its comparatively meager emphasis on energy efficiency in rental housing, and its ongoing inability to systematically […]

The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]

Climate Roundup: Environmentalists Sue EPA on Car Mileage Standards

15 May

The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations joined the legal fray this week over the Trump Administration’s plans to weaken federal mileage standards for autos designed to cut greenhouse gases and encourage production of electric vehicles. The Sierra Club filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against the federal Environmental […]

Brown’s Budget Update Hikes Forest Fire Prevention Funds

15 May

Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised 2018-19 budget proposal released May 11 would allocate $1.25 billion in carbon cap-and- trade revenue to protect against climate change. Included is $256 million to reduce wildfire threats in the state, up from $220 million this fiscal year. Brown’s initial budget, released in January, included $160 million of cap-and-trade auction revenue […]

Shorts

15 May

SoCal Gas showcased a new solar-powered hydrogen generation system May 17. It uses sunlight to convert natural gas and water into hydrogen and capture the carbon dioxide to prevent carbon emissions. The project is a partnership between SoCal Gas, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the STARS Corp. The solar advanced reactor system “produces hydrogen through […]

CPUC to Develop CA Power Restructuring Plan

3 May

In the midst of related proceedings, California utility regulators called for a statewide conversation about the future structure and regulation of the power industry May 3. They continued to warn about the proliferation of customer-owned solar systems, community choice aggregation, and other developments that threaten to destabilize traditional utilities and electric grid reliability in California. […]

CA Leads Coalition Suing EPA for Clean Car Rollback

1 May

California May 1 challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s effort to knock out the state’s tighter automotive emission standards set for the 2022-2025 model years. Joining California were 16 other states and the District of Columbia. “We’re not looking to pick a fight with the Trump Administration, but when the stakes are this high for our […]

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 […]

Measure Requiring SDG&E to Provide San Diego 100% Renewables Sputters

12 Apr

A ballot measure that would mandate that San Diego Gas & Electric provide the City of San Diego 100 percent renewable energy, as part of a renewed franchise agreement, was sent back to the drawing board by the City Council’s Environmental Committee. The four-member committee April 12 asked the council’s Rules Committee, which initially forwarded […]

Undercurrents

12 Apr

The Natural Resources Agency was urged to alter its climate adaptation work to focus less on fighting climate-driven disasters, such as wildfires, and more on helping prevent climate change impacts, during an April 11 Senate Environmental Quality Committee hearing. “We know we have dead trees and poor soil management in forests,” said Committee Chair Bob […]

Climate Roundup: Enviro Justice Groups Seek to Protect Low Income Weatherization

3 Apr

Updated April 5 The governor’s spending proposal to eliminate the Low Income Weatherization Program’s budget is opposed by a coalition of environmental justice advocates. The program, administered by the Department of Community Services & Development, has provided energy efficiency and solar installations, and utility bill savings in struggling communities. It is funded by the California […]

JUICE: CA May Have to Hold & Fold in Auto Standards Game

3 Apr

In a MAGA moment, The Trump Administration moved to weaken federal greenhouse gas emissions standards for passenger cars and pickup trucks. It also signaled April 2 that it’s reconsidering the Clean Air Act waiver that allowed California to set greenhouse gas standards, which the Obama Administration adopted at the federal level. At issue globally is […]