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Gubernatorial Candidates Stances on Energy

10 Apr

As the June gubernatorial primary nears, the large field of candidates is drilling down on transportation, green jobs, climate change and the environment. Leading Republicans challenge the recently enacted gas tax hike and the bullet train. Democrats largely pledge to build on what Gov. Jerry Brown has done with some twists. San Francisco Mayor Gavin […]

The Buzz

5 Apr

Clashing recipes to determine how much community choice organizations must pay the private utilities for their stranded power purchase contracts land in the California Public Utilities Commission’s kitchen. The launch of California’s expected biggest community choice program is not fully baked. The Clean Power Alliance of Southern California’s June debut is limited to two cities […]

The Buzz

23 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted big time reforms to increase gas power plant generator revenues and curb speculation in the transmission congestion market. Pacific Gas & Electric was chastised for balking at complying with the CPUC’s order to sign contracts for biomass projects to help reduce the huge number of dead trees. Biomass got  a […]

CEC Funds Biomass Project in Mariposa County

21 Mar

Mariposa County will become the site of a small biomass-fed power plant that will add 2.4 MW of local generation capacity to the area and help facilitate removal of dead pine trees. The huge numbers of dead trees in the area create a fire hazard and threaten to fall into homes. The Commission also provided […]

Budget Panel Picks Apart Energy Budgets

9 Mar

A Senate budget subcommittee questioned some of the governor’s proposed budget items for the energy agencies, including different funding sources for electric vehicle charging. Included in the new potential funding pots for EV infrastructure is money from the California Energy Commission’s solar homes and air quality programs. “This raises key policy questions,” Legislative Analyst Brian […]

Legislature Sets Busy Agenda with More Energy Bills

20 Feb

Legislators in Sacramento continued introducing energy-related measures through the end of last week, including perennial bills that to make large hydropower a qualified source of renewable energy and to promote electric vehicles. While some are largely statements of intent at this juncture—with the substance to be developed later—two of the more developed measures introduced in […]

Utility Financial Stability Concerns Come to Fore

8 Feb

In an unusual move, four members of the California Public Utilities Commission Feb. 8 answered written questions submitted by the so called “public” concerning the financial stability of the state’s investor-owned utilities in the face of regulatory policy and the growing impacts of climate change, particularly wildfires. The one-hour webinar—called an experiment in communications by […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]

CPUC Okays 15 Utility Transportation Electrification Projects

11 Jan

Regulators gave the state’s three biggest electric utilities the green light Jan. 11 to spend $42.8 million on projects aimed at bolstering electric transportation. Under the unanimously-approved decision by the California Public Utilities Commission, a majority of the money will go toward projects that promote electrification of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, according to Commissioner Carla […]

Federal Energy Project Permit Streamlining Said Lacking

12 Dec

Lawmakers focused on efforts to streamline the federal permitting process for energy and other infrastructure projects built on federal lands during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing Dec. 12. Panel Chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) urged federal agencies to do more to expedite permits. She noted that similar projects approved in Canada […]

Undercurrents

5 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric upped its game on energy storage Dec. 4 by seeking approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to enter into six new contracts with a total storage capacity of 165 MW. “These contracts and the storage capacity they represent will help us better integrate our growing renewable generation sources, and bring […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems. The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas […]

The Buzz

5 Oct

A top legislative staffer gives an insider’s look at the fallout from the governor’s ill-fated effort to push through a bill to create an integrated western grid in the waning days of the legislative session. Electric transportation advocates flock to a meeting this week on the California Air Resources Board’s plan to give away $1.5 […]

JUICE: Electric Lifts for All

25 Sep

While I creep along a 16-lane section of Interstate 5 heading back to Los Angeles from San Diego, state leaders are putting the pedal to the metal to convert California’s transportation sector to electric technology that will be fueled by renewable energy. With their confidence bolstered by the remarkable strides in converting the state’s power […]

Climate Roundup: CA Spending Plan for Carbon Auction Money is Law

19 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown quickly signed into law two bills, AB 109 and AB 134, which appropriate $1.6 billion in state carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue this fiscal year. The money will go largely to projects aimed at advancing conversion of the transportation sector to electric technology. The spending package also will help sequester carbon in vegetation […]

Cap-&-Trade Spending Plan Headed for Passage

13 Sep

The fate of a bill to require 100 percent renewable power in California remained uncertain mid-week as the Legislature raced toward a Friday deadline to finish up its business in Sacramento. However, lawmakers and the governor broke a deadlock Sept. 12 that appears to clear the way for a massive spending measure funded by carbon […]

Action on PG&E Butte Fire Penalty & EV Subsidy Bills

22 Aug

Legislation to strengthen rural wildfire prevention programs with a penalty payment ordered by utility regulators for Pacific Gas & Electric’s role in triggering the Butte Fire in 2015 cleared the Senate Natural Resources Committee Aug. 22. The bill goes next to the Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee. Meanwhile, a separate measure to advance electric […]

$14 B Port Cleanup Plan Lacks Funding

25 Jul

A joint plan by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to dramatically cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from their operations over the next two decades leans heavily on electrifying cargo handling equipment and trucks that haul shipping containers. But, it rests on an uncertain financial foundation. The plan, rolled out earlier this […]

Opinionated: NREL at 40-It Started With a Desire to Harness the Sun

11 Jul

By Wayne Hicks and Don Gwinner May 3, 1978, fell on a Wednesday, but it was Sun Day as well. President Jimmy Carter, who had designated the date to highlight the potential of solar energy, spent part of the afternoon visiting an office park in Golden, Colorado. It was there, 10 months earlier that the […]

Shorts

3 Jul

Volvo will sell only hybrid and pure electric powered vehicles beginning in 2019. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive, stated July 5. Volvo announced it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. The car […]