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Bill Provides Backing for Microgrids in Struggling Communities

19 Jan

A proposed bill in the state Senate would address the growing gap in who is able to set up microgrids in California by providing support to communities seeking energy resilience. SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) creates a statewide grant and technical assistance program to help local governments increase installations of clean community microgrids […]

Newsom Proposes $2.5B for Electric Transportation & Fire Mitigation

11 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposes spending more than $1.5 billion to accelerate electric and other non-fossil fueled vehicles and charging stations, particularly in polluted poor communities. He also plans to direct another $1 billion to reduce wildfire risks in high threat areas—forests and communities.  Newsom’s proposal released Jan. 8 highlights significant exacerbation of climate […]

The Buzz

17 Dec

Federal energy regulators shoot down a proposed order requiring the grid operator to prove the August outages were not caused by its unreasonable tariff. Two of the three voting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members reject interfering with the California Independent System Operator’s work with state energy agencies to fill grid reliability gaps. The California Public […]

CPUC Acts to Advance Electric Vehicles

17 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission has passed three more measures to promote electric vehicles. “These decisions will help with rates, charging behavior, infrastructure, and investment in underserved communities,” Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said Dec. 17. In the first action, the Commission eliminated demand charges for commercial owners of electric vehicles in San Diego Gas & Electric […]

News Roundup: PG&E Admits it Caused Zogg Fire, Nichols not Next EPA Chief

15 Dec

Updated Dec. 17 Pacific Gas & Electric acknowledged that its equipment likely started the huge fire in Shasta County on Sept. 27, which killed four people and destroyed 204 buildings during the nearly two weeks it burned. More than 56,000 acres were torched. PG&E said it will take a $275 million hit in its end […]

The Buzz

3 Dec

The Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 shuts down just two days after it goes back online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know the cause, who is on the hook for the repair and whether there will […]

Four More NorCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

Klamath Dams Closer to Demolition

17 Nov

Four years after a historic agreement was reached to remove dams on the Klamath River to revive the once surging salmon runs, a new revision was announced Nov. 17. It is expected to satisfy a controversial condition added by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last July. “According to many FERC nerds, this is going to […]

San Francisco, San Jose Ban Gas in New Buildings

12 Nov

Natural gas use in new homes and commercial buildings will be banned in the City of San Francisco starting next June. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on a preliminary vote this week, the prohibition will be formally approved Nov. 17. Last fall, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to require all new […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

The Buzz

23 Oct

State utility regulators allow Pacific Gas & Electric to fold $447 million into rates to recoup part of its wildfire tab. Whether these incurred costs linked to different accounts are reasonable will be determined later. Also this week, a majority of the California Public Utilities Commission refuses to back a penalty program aimed at stopping […]

No Enforcement Yet Against Solar Swindlers

22 Oct

A proposed penalty program aimed at predatory solar contractors and shoddy solar installations, particularly in poor communities with members who have no or little ability to communicate in English, was nearly shot down on a 3-2 vote by the California Public Utilities Commission. Commissioner Guzman Aceves who proposed the punishments was visibly upset by the […]

Energy Commission Approves $400M to Slash Vehicle Emissions

14 Oct

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved $384 million in funding for zero emissions vehicles over the next three years, significantly boosting its commitment to charging infrastructure. Much of the work will be carried out in struggling polluted communities. “This is a really an important moment for the state,” Commissioner Patty Monahan said during the agency’s […]

Report: Salton Sea ‘Lithium Valley’ Could Supply 33% of Global Demand

6 Oct

Just one week after a law was signed in California creating a special committee to explore the potential of the Salton Sea to yield significant amounts of lithium, a report concludes it could result in a multi-billion dollar windfall for the state and its electric vehicles. The report by the non-profit New Energy Nexus says […]

California Builds Out EV Charging for Renters

27 Aug

California regulators unanimously approved the largest utility electric car charging infrastructure program in the country. The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 to allow Southern California Edison to charge its ratepayer $436 million over the next four years to install 38,000 light duty vehicle chargers. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen recognized concerns about the program’s cost. He […]

Ratepayers to Continue Funding Programs to Green the Grid

27 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved charging ratepayers $1.4 billion over the next decade to continue paying for emerging clean energy technologies. These include those that help create a clean reliable grid, reduce air pollution in struggling communities, advance zero and low emission vehicles and reduce wildfire risks. “In California we know we need […]

Guest Juice: It’s Time for California to Build Cheaper, Faster, Cleaner

24 Aug

By Pierre Delforge Dozens of concerned citizens, health and environmental organizations, and building professionals told the California Energy Commission at their August 12 virtual meeting that the time is now for California to align its building energy policies with its climate, public health and housing affordability goals. Advancing the electrification of new homes using grid-responsive […]

The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

Fracking Protection Bill Sputters

6 Aug

Legislation to require setbacks between natural gas and oil wells and playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and homes to protect the health of predominantly communities of color failed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Aug. 5. But it was revived by a 5-3 vote to reconsider it in the future. AB 345 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi […]

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