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The Buzz

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric fails to garner an extra $1.5 billion for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, as the CPUC stands by an administrative law judge’s decision. FERC moves a bit closer to a quorum as a Senate panel holds a hearing on President Trump’s nominees. In a report that’s, well, quite predictable, CARB […]

CEC Grants Big Clean Energy Bucks

10 May

The California Energy Commission approved more than $55 million in grants May 10 to promote less polluting ports, electric vehicles, alternative vehicle fuels and building energy efficiency. Two Southern California ports and the surrounding poor communities are to reap the benefits of a $25 million in grants for zero and low emission vehicles. The impact […]

Lawmakers Favor Amended Cap & Trade Program

10 May

Lawmakers held a marathon hearing May 10 on the future of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, vowing to improve upon it as a strategy beyond 2020 rather than replacing it with a carbon tax or more regulations. Cap-and-trade, as its currently structured, likely will be unable to achieve the state’s 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Resorts to Ex Parte Tactics on Diablo Decommissioning Decision

10 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will meet next Monday, May 15, in commissioners’ offices at the California Public Utilities Commission to lobby against an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to grant it $2.3 billion of ratepayer money for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The decision cut the utility’s original request by $1.5 billion. Matt […]

May Bills Set 100% Green Mandate & Higher Carbon Prices

2 May

On a bright windy morning at the University of California, Davis, legislation to require a 100 percent renewable energy standard for California was announced, as promised by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León. Standing near a 16 MW photovoltaic system May 2, the Los Angeles Democrat said his SB 100 “is about jobs and […]


1 May

The Scoping Summary Report for the proposed 500 kV Colusa-Sutter transmission line in Northern California was released by the Western Area Power Administration and SMUD May 4. The line seeks to increase reliability and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s ability to transport fossil-free resources in and out of the region, including to and from the […]

Carbon Intensity of Electricity Continues to Fall

1 May

The carbon intensity of the electric sector declined last year to 48 kg CO2/MMBtu, according to the Energy Information Administration, as depicted below. After averaging near 60 kg CO2/MMBtu for decades, the electric sector’s carbon intensity fell in 2016 to a level slightly lower than the overall carbon intensity of natural gas. That fuel produces […]

LA County Opts for Community Choice Energy

19 Apr

Los Angeles County will form a community choice aggregation program, which will be the biggest in the state. The county Board of Supervisors voted unanimously April 18 to form the program that is to offer higher levels of alternative power than Southern California Edison starting next year. The choice program has been under development for […]

Climate Roundup: Low Carbon Fuel Rule Proposal Aims to Boost Biomethane

17 Apr

In a bid to cut methane emissions, the California Air Resources Board is seeking to stoke up use of biomethane produced at dairies and livestock yards from manure by giving more low carbon fuel standards credits to those who capture the gas and inject it into pipelines for use as a transportation fuel. Meeting April […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

Edison Tells Investors EV Charging is Big Business

12 Apr

One of California’s biggest electric utilities is banking on a growing number of electric vehicles on the state’s highways to provide  a business growth opportunity over the coming decade. In an April 12 briefing for investment banks, Southern California Edison executives outlined a growing need for both grid modernization to meet electric vehicle charging demand […]

CEC Aims to Help Utilities Adapt to Warming

11 Apr

Climate change is straining electric utility infrastructure, motivating the California Energy Commission and other state agencies to focus on actionable climate science research that utilities can use to adapt to global warming. “Climate adaptation is where we need to focus now,” Bob Weisenmiller, CEC chair, said during an April 11 meeting aimed at planning how […]

Climate Roundup: U.S. Energy-Related Emissions Fall as Coal Declines

11 Apr

Last year, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use were 1.7 percent below 2015 levels.  Carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 were pegged at 5.17 million metric tons, the Energy Information Administration reported April 10. The decline was even greater in the electric power sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions fall 4.9 percent. Last year’s decrease […]

Appeals Court Upholds Cap & Trade

6 Apr

On a 2-1 decision, California’s Third District Court of Appeal April 6 upheld the constitutionality of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, ruling that auctioning off carbon emissions rights does not constitute a tax. The court in Sacramento reasoned that the Legislature gave the California Air Resources Board the broad authority it needed to devise a […]

JUICE: Trump & CA’s Clean Energy House

5 Apr

President Donald Trump’s growling about climate-friendly federal laws, rules and programs could be worse than his greenhouse gas emissions bite to California’s climate protection efforts, at least in the short term. But, threatened financial chomps are a concern with the possible slashing of federal funding for state renewable energy programs and low-income energy assistance. Sharp […]

Bill Directs CAISO & Air Board to Figure out Emissions from ID-less Power

5 Apr

The Assembly Natural Resources Committee April 3 approved AB 79 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-Marin County) on a 7-3 vote. It would require the California Air Resources Board and California Independent System Operator to work together to figure out a way to calculate hourly greenhouse gas emissions attributable to unspecified power purchased by California utilities […]

Arguments Over Aliso Canyon Flare As CPUC Sets Key Meetings

4 Apr

As the California Public Utilities begins studying whether the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field is needed for energy reliability in Southern California, the region could get along without the facility, according to a preliminary study done for Los Angeles County. In a filing with the CPUC, Los Angeles County attorney Jason Ackerman […]


4 Apr

U.C. Irvine could dramatically increase use of renewable energy with power to gas technology using excess solar energy to make hydrogen from water in an electrolyzer. “With power-to-gas technology, you don’t need to stop renewable power generation when demand is low,” said Jack Brouwer, associate professor of mechanical & aerospace engineering and civil & environmental […]

Bills Focus on Higher Renewables, Lower Carbon & Rising Utility Bills

29 Mar

Pending legislation would require meeting peak energy demand with rising levels of alternative electricity resources and mandate that the California Air Resources Board factor in the social costs of climate change gases in its policies. Under AB 378 by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Downey), the Air Board must factor in the social cost of greenhouse gases […]

Carbon Cap-&-Trade Remains Air Board Front Runner

28 Mar

After further analysis ordered by its board, the California Air Resources Board staff recommends that the state stick with its carbon cap-and-trade program—supplemented by a higher low carbon fuels standard and a direct emissions control rule for refineries—to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals through 2030. Cap-and-trade, coupled with an increase in the state’s low […]