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Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

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 […]

Five Fed Energy Regulators at the Helm

19 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first meeting of 2021 was the first time in many months that it operated with a full five-member board. The last time there was a full commission was August 2018. “A little bit of normality is creeping back in,” James Danley, FERC chair, said at the start of the Jan. […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

The Buzz

14 Jan

One of the avenues for helping secure power supplies during safety shutoffs and heat waves is a proceeding on clean microgrids. But a new California Public Utilities Commission decision makes little headway on advancing the microgrid market because of concerns about ratepayer costs and safety. Those concerns do little to appease low-income advocates who object […]

Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Correction made Jan. 21 Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in continuous service for several more weeks. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

Shorts

5 Jan

Peninsula Clean Energy signed three contracts for 245 MW of wind energy Jan. 5, running seven to 20 years. To hit its 100% renewable goal set for 2025, Peninsula needs “significant contributions from wind energy,” Peninsula Clean Energy CEO Jan Pepper said. The deals include a 20-year agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for 30 MW […]

The Buzz

10 Dec

Liane Randolph, who has been at the California Public Utilities Commission for the last five years is making a big move. She is the next Air Resources Board chair, replacing Mary Nichols, who may head to Washington DC. Southern California Edison signs another big round of energy storage deals this week. That includes 585 MW […]

CEC Grants Aim to Drive Hydrogen Vehicles

10 Dec

The California Energy Commission Dec. 9 unanimously approved $33 million in funding for alternative transportation projects, including almost $25 million in grants for the installation of hydrogen refueling stations. Another $8 million grant was awarded to the Air Resources Board to help expand its program aimed at improving mobility options in struggling communities. Three grants […]

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 […]

PG&E Touts Biggest Ratepayer Bond in U.S. History

24 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric argues that its proposal before utility regulators to issue $7.5 billion in 30-year bonds to be repaid by ratepayers is a good deal for its customers. This low-cost refinancing of shareholder debt to cover utility wildfire costs “will enable PG&E to promptly move $6 billion in debt off its balance sheet,” […]

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 […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

Grid Operator’s Budget Inches Downward

16 Nov

The California Independent System Operator’s draft 2021 budget—ranging from salary and contractor costs to market income—is its lowest since 2006, April Gordon, CAISO financial planning director, said during a Nov. 16 presentation. The grid operator’s spending plan for next year is a proposed $181.6 million, 3% below this year’s $187 million revenue requirement. The budget […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

PG&E’s $7.5B Ratepayer Bond Would Assume Shareholder Debt

10 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is seeking regulatory permission to shift $7.5 billion of its 2017 wildfire costs from shareholders to ratepayers. Ratepayer advocate groups, both large and small, strenuously object on grounds it places an inordinate financial risk on utility customers while providing them little or no benefit. “It is morally reprehensible,” April Rose Maurath […]

Consumer Advocates Push for $255M SoCalGas Penalty

10 Nov

The official advocate for California utility ratepayers says the state should punish Southern California Gas by fining it $255.3 million for illegally using ratepayer money to thwart energy efficiency building codes and appliance standards. “Since at least 2014, SoCalGas has engaged in a concerted effort to undermine the state’s energy efficiency goals related to new […]

The Buzz

6 Nov

Neil Chatterjee, who has served as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair for more than two years, is suddenly replaced. President Trump late Thursday names James Danly the new FERC chief. In blue California, state utility regulators approve Southern California Edison’s plan to issue $337 million in ratepayer-backed bonds to recover the costs of making […]

PG&E Admits Flaws in Wildfire Reduction Program

3 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric is acknowledging serious deficiencies in a program aimed at removing trees and limbs near utility equipment in high fire threat areas. Responding to criticisms raised last month, the utility agreed with the federal Court Monitor Mark Filip that its operational decisions “must give greater weight to working the riskiest areas first […]

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