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News Analysis: As PG&E Retreats Others Fill the Void

19 Aug

By Fereidoon P. Sioshansi To avoid wildfire lawsuits utilities are driving customers to self-generation and storage. For the second time in its long history, Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s biggest investor-owned utility, is under bankruptcy protection. Both times, you might say, the company fell on hard times not because of what it did but because […]

The Buzz

15 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission says goodbye to President Mike Picker. The five commissioners also approve new decade-long energy efficiency targets and SDG&E’s $100 million heavy-duty vehicle electrification program. The California Independent System Operator gets a CEC pat on the back for being the new Reliability Coordinator. The Energy Commission also adopts impressive new rules […]

Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

CA Sues U.S. EPA Over Clean Power Plan Repeal

13 Aug

California’s top lawyer Aug. 13  announced a suit challenging the Trump Administration’s “unlawful” and “toothless” replacement of the nation’s Clean Power Plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, according to California Attorney Xavier Becerra, “fails everyone who stands for cleaner air.” He added that the Clean Power Plan’s far weaker replacement […]

CA Electricity Sector Emissions Fall Nearly 10%

13 Aug

Greenhouse gas emissions from California’s electricity sector in 2017 dropped 9 percent below 2016 levels, but overall emissions in the state fell only 1 percent. The decrease in electricity emissions was offset by rising emissions from the state’s transportation sector, which is the largest source of carbon gases in the Golden State. That is according […]

Microgrids Can Create Community Energy Resilience

8 Aug

Microgrids offer increasing promise in making communities resilient to climate change by providing electricity for critical facilities during power outages or when utilities turn off power lines to prevent wildfires, researchers and community leaders told the California Energy Commission Aug. 8. They spoke to CEC members during a workshop this week on making the state’s […]

Dairy Biogas Project Begins Delivering RNG

8 Aug

Calgren late last month finished work on the largest dairy biogas operation in the nation and will begin supplying SoCal Gas with renewable natural gas to help fill its pipelines later this year. At its new facility in Pixley in Tulare County, Calgren began collecting and gasifying manure from four dairies and plans to expand […]

Climate Roundup: State Strikes Deal with Automakers on GHGs

6 Aug

State officials and top automakers late last month agreed on a voluntary framework for continuing to reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. The pact came as the Trump Administration is preparing to freeze standards at existing emissions levels and revoke the right of California to set its own emissions standards that are tighter than federal requirements. […]

Undercurrents: Efficiency Funds Allowed for Building Decarbonization

5 Aug

California utility regulators last week opened the door for using $1 billion a year of energy efficiency program money to retrofit homes and buildings to shift from natural gas to electricity for space and water heating and other uses. “This means there is now a clear path to roll out new programs that include efficient […]

Inside the Beltway: Committees Advance Energy Bills

17 Jul

The full House Energy & Commerce Committee approved 10 energy-related bills July 17 aimed at advancing energy efficiency and energy sector employment and also making energy infrastructure more impervious to cyberattacks. “These bills tackle the climate crisis head-on by ensuring our homes, schools and buildings emit less carbon pollution, and by investing in our state […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Updated July 18. The California Energy Commission’s clean transportation program to date has provided $830 million in funding, with most of the money targeted at advancing the use of electric vehicles, according to a summary presented at a commission meeting on the program’s accomplishments July 18. In the clean vehicle infrastructure area, CEC has provided […]

Newsom & Other Governors Call for Strong Car Standards

9 Jul

Gov. Gavin Newsom joined with 23 governors to call for maintaining tight federal clean car standards July 9 in the face of a proposed rollback of existing federal requirements by the Trump Administration. “Flawed federal policy is forcing motorists to pay more at the pump, get worse gas mileage, and breathe dirtier air,” said Newsom. […]

Juice: Staving Off Chaos

9 Jul

Lawmakers are rolling the dice in Sacramento this week, betting that legislation to set up a state-run wildfire insurance fund for California’s financially beleaguered investor-owned electric utilities will resolve damages stemming from past utility-sparked fires plus stave off major conflagrations in the decade ahead. The measure, AB 1054, will establish a state insurance fund for […]

Shorts

9 Jul

Updated July 11. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources committee held a celebratory hearing July 11 on growing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. “We are now leading the world in natural gas production, and hopefully soon, we will also lead in exports,” said panel chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (D-AK. “More U.S. LNG export facilities […]

Undercurrents: Diablo Closure’s Money Impact Limited

2 Jul

The financial impact to the Central California Coast from the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not expected to be significant. The impact of the 2,200 MW Diablo plant closure slated for 2024-25 is projected to result in an annual loss of about $800 million to San Luis Obispo […]

CA & Canada Join Forces on Cleaner Cars

1 Jul

California and Canada agreed to work together to develop vehicle tailpipe emission standards that are more stringent than the ones the Golden State has in place, which are being challenged by the Trump Administration. The memorandum of understanding signed last week also includes commitments by the two major economies to advance the adoption of electric […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

EV Sales Pitches

25 Jun

The California energy agencies, utilities and cities are working to help the state meet its mandate of slashing greenhouse gases. But the state will be able to drastically cut climate pollutants only if the transportation sector is decarbonized. It produces more than double the emissions generated by the energy sector. To encourage the uptake of […]

JUICE: Clean Car & Air Chaos

25 Jun

If President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to yank California’s authority to enact automotive emissions and fuel efficiency standards that are tighter than federal requirements, the work of the Golden State and utilities here to promote electric vehicles and develop charging infrastructure will be jeopardized. Not only will California’s climate change goals be […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Clash on Auto Standards

20 Jun

Legislators and policy makers displayed wide differences regarding the future of automotive standards aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions June 20 during a joint hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection & Commerce and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees. The panels delved into the Trump Administration’s plan to freeze Obama era standards modeled […]