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The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]

Newsom Beefs Up Fire Fighting Budget, Adds Social Distancing Plan

9 Jul

As summer temperatures increase, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the addition of 858 fire fighters in CaFire ranks and six new California Conservation crews. Safety protocols to avoid the spread of Covid-19 will be in place for firefighters and those evacuated. “Even in a challenging budget climate, we have undertaken major action and made significant investments […]

Building Electrification Gets Broad Support

9 Jul

Struggling Californians make up 40% of the population and suffer a disproportionate share of indoor pollution, principally from gas-fueled appliances. A new report, Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, offers a blueprint for financing strategies to drive the electrification of the homes of low-income people. Currently, home clean energy retrofits are principally reaped by Californians who […]

Tribal Focus in Latest $30+M Round of CEC Storage Combination Grants

8 Jul

The California Energy Commission continued to award grants to innovative energy storage projects and microgrids, including two novels ones that will use discarded electric vehicle batteries to store solar power. Awards unanimously approved this week, totaling more than $31 million, aim to help ensure California slashes carbon emissions and attains carbon neutrality within 15 years. […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

CEC Continues Steady Push for Hydrogen

2 Jul

The California Energy Commission’s continued funding for research and development to create emissions-free hydrogen fuel for transportation and energy storage is beginning to show results.  “Adoption is happening, but the supply is thin,” Wayne Leighty with Shell Energy said during a July 2 California Energy Commission workshop. “Don’t worry about getting it right, but getting […]

PG&E Has $17B on Hand for Fire Victims & Cities

1 Jul

Updated July 2 Pacific Gas & Electric announced July 1 it funded much of the cash portion of its $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires from 2015-18, as well as the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. PG&E funded the victim trust with $5.4 billion in cash. It will receive a further $650 million cash […]

CA Budget Seeds PG&E Alternative

1 Jul

There is a clue in the new budget agreed to by lawmakers and the governor that they are serious about taking over PG&E and turning it into a non-profit utility. The budget contains a provision for a $50 million loan to the new entity under the newly enacted SB 350. That law says PG&E would […]

Bill Creating a Public Gas & Electric Becomes Law

30 Jun

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law June 30 legislation creating a state takeover of Pacific Gas & Electric if it is unable to complete its $58 billion in post bankruptcy financing by Sept. 30. If poorly maintained utility equipment causes another fire or disaster that also would trigger the takeover under SB 350 by Sen. […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]

Court Approves PG&E $60B Financing Scheme, Company Issues More Debt

23 Jun

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court confirmed Pacific Gas & Electric’s $58 billion reorganization to resolve massive claims—from wildfire victims and other creditors—10 days ahead of a legislative June 30 deadline. That is the final date for accessing the $21 billion utility ratepayer and shareholder funded fire trust, which PG&E and the court have kept their eyes […]

Shorts

22 Jun

Updated July 25 The proposed Moving Forward Act by House Democrats is a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that includes clean energy tax extensions and expansions. It also would create incentives for offshore wind and energy storage projects. The House bill “would provide a stable and effective policy reform platform for clean energy deployment over the next […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

Budget Overshadows Green Energy Bills

16 Jun

Legislation to create a California Green New Deal, along with other clean energy measures propelled forward by the pandemic, have been sidelined by the state budget crisis. AB 1839 by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) would set an intent to attain clean energy, and environmental, housing and job equity goals similar to those in last year’s […]

Shorts

16 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty June 16 in Butte County Superior Court to 84 counts of manslaughter and one count of illegally starting the 2018 Camp Fire. “I have heard the pain and the anguish of victims as they’ve described the loss they continue to endure, and the wounds that can’t be healed,” Bill […]

Packed CPUC Agenda Includes Approving PG&E Diesel Backup

11 Jun

State utility regulators June 11 addressed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and continued systematic racism near and far, including at the California Public Utilities Commission. They also held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to remember Floyd’s death on May 25. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that while the five commissioners […]

CPUC Okays IOUs $15B Fire Risk Reduction Plans

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission on Thursday signed off on all the utilities’ 2020 wildfire mitigation plans despite “significant concerns,” raised by staff. The total tab of the plans by Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric is an estimated $15 billion. Regulators, however, did not discuss the price […]

CEC Okays $60M in Grants to Promote Climate Protection & Resiliency

11 Jun

The California Energy Commission will approve nearly $43 million in grants for electricity storage technologies that use something other than lithium ion batteries by the end of this month. The Commission approved $11 million in grants for seven projects June 10. Another nearly $30 million is expected to be approved June 25 for alternatives to […]

PG&E Takeover Bill Passes Key Assembly Vote

9 Jun

Updated June 10 Legislation to allow California to seize Pacific Gas & Electric’s electric and gas infrastructure if the company fails to finance its $58 billion reorganization plan by the end of September or starts another large fire passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on a 12-2 vote. “It is a bill I hope […]