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Four More NoCal 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 […]

Matching Flexible Demand with Green Load

2 Dec

What is the best way to integrate growing levels of variable renewable resources into grid networks such as in California, as it marches towards 100% renewable mix by 2045? Among the usual suspects are better interconnections, and more generation diversity, including more storage and price responsive demand, a resource traditionally neglected. This subject is gaining […]

News Roundup: GM Sees the EV Light

24 Nov

General Motors announced it will cease its opposition to California’s tailpipe emissions reduction work, asserting it is now committed “to an all-electric, zero emission future.” For about a year and a half, General Motors led the effort to strip California of its vehicle emissions regulatory power. Three weeks after the election that took down the […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

Air Regulators Fight Diesel Generators but Energy Commission Barely Budges

17 Nov

The need for reliable power clashed with the need for breathable air for nearly five hours at the California Energy Commission on Monday. Companies with data centers again pushed to be allowed to install hundreds of megawatts of new backup generation that runs on diesel fuel. The possibility of this much additional pollution in California […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

California is Driving the Hydrogen Fuel Market

6 Oct

California has been a leader in hydrogen-fueled transportation and today is home to nearly all the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in the United States. There are about 7,000 of these vehicles on state roads, and only another 600 spread across the whole country. Seven thousand vehicles is very few, but hydrogen vehicles are likely […]

News Roundup: PG&E Seeks $2B more for Past Fire Costs

1 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to charge ratepayers another $2 billion for costs of the 2017 wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. It also wants approval to sell its century-old headquarters in San Francisco. The utility seeks “$1.18 billion in expense and $801 million in capital expenditures, which […]

Shorts

29 Sep

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions produced by the electricity sector dropped 2.8%, or by 150 million metric tons, last year compared with 2018. They went from 5,281 MMmt in 2018 to 5,130 MMmt in 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated Sept. 30. “Changes in the electricity fuel mix were the most important factors, with coal-related […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

News Roundup: SCE Reaches $2B Deal with Fire Insurers

25 Sep

Southern California Edison agreed to a nearly $2 billion settlement to cover all claims by insurance companies for payouts they made to businesses and homeowners harmed by the utility-sparked 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito mudslides. The agreement announced Sept. 23 pays $1.6 billion to insurance firms for third party fire claims […]

California Bans Gasoline Cars in 2035

23 Sep

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Sept. 23 directing the sale of gasoline-fueled cars and small trucks to end within 15 years. This year’s worsening climate-exacerbated wildfires across the state was a key motivator. “We had to do more to make a big difference,” Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair, said during the […]

Fed Commodities Regulators Break the Mold with Call for Carbon Pricing

17 Sep

The climate crisis threatens the stability of the U.S. financial markets, warned commissioners appointed by the current president to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in a recent report. Although their report has not been approved by the full commission, Emilie Mazzacurati, founder/CEO of climate risk analyst 427, called it miraculous in the current political environment. […]

Shorts

10 Sep

SoCalGas announced Sept. 10 it was increasing energy efficient appliance rebates by 50%. It applies to efficient appliances purchased now through the end of the year. A tankless water heater can save about $1,500, an efficient traditional water heater about $200, and an energy efficient furnace will save a customer about $550 over its lifetime, […]

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 […]

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