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Gov. Directs Money & Climate Protection Alignment

23 Sep

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Sept. 20 directing the leveraging of the state’s $700 billion pension investment funds to promote increased climate protection in California. That is to include tapping into the California Public Employees Retirement System, California State Teachers Retirement System and the University of California Retirement funds. Newsom also inked two […]

Shorts

23 Sep

Updated Sept. 26 The electric grid faces growing cybersecurity risks, particularly to industrial control systems that support grid operations, the General Accountability Office warned Sept. 25. “The increasing adoption of high-wattage consumer Internet of Things devices—“smart” devices connected to the internet—and the use of the global positioning system to synchronize grid operations are also vulnerabilities,” […]

Joint House Panel Hears Young Voices on Climate

18 Sep

Climate change is “so important, but the aggravating thing is that there are so many people who still deny it,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) said at the opening of joint House hearing Wednesday. “Our generation has failed to adequately address our climate crisis,” the Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs said. “It’s not fatal, […]

Private Utilities Face Wildfire Mitigation Plan Hurdles

18 Sep

California’s three large investor-owned utilities reported progress implementing their mandated SB 901 wildfire mitigation plans, but the shortage of tree trimmers and composite poles are among the challenges hampering their efforts. San Diego Gas & Electric’s Jonathan Woldemariam, director of wildfire mitigation and vegetation management, said Sept. 17 that the work has been “a humbling […]

The US is Behind Rare Mineral Curve Big Time

17 Sep

The surge in renewable energy and electric vehicles highlights the risks of importing limited essential minerals from opaque markets, many in unstable regions. The matter is further exacerbated by the United States’ failure to compete in this area. “Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver, gallium, indium, tellurium; and […]

Shorts

16 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District joined a suit filed by six other utility companies across the country challenging the Trump Administration’s replacement of the Clean Power Plan. It sought to reduce coal power plant emissions. The utilities are part of a group called the Power Companies Climate Coalition, which filed […]

Unspent SGIP Funds Redirected to Fire-Prone Areas

12 Sep

State energy regulators approved using $104 million in unspent clean energy incentives to aid struggling ratepayers and critical services providers in areas with high wildfire risks. Of that amount, $100 million is to provide incentives for energy storage system installations that can be used when power from the grid is disrupted. The money from the […]

CEC Okays $95M for Clean Transportation

11 Sep

The California Energy Commission Sept. 12 unanimously approved spending $95.2 million on alternative-fueled vehicles and fueling stations the next year to help the state get closer to becoming a carbon neutral economy by 2045. “We can’t get to our health-based air quality standards, our greenhouse gas reduction goals and carbon light future without this investment […]

Scrap over Vehicle Emissions Intensifies

10 Sep

The Trump Administration is pulling out the stops to thwart California’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation Sept. 6 of the four automakers that reached a deal in late July with California to lower vehicle emissions on a voluntary basis, should existing standards be frozen […]

Agencies Seek Balance in SB 100 Implementation

5 Sep

California’s energy agencies Sept. 5 kicked off a process to develop the state’s first report on implementing SB 100, a statute that calls for decarbonizing the state’s economy by 2045. At a joint agency workshop, state energy officials emphasized that reaching the goal can bring substantial benefits—including environmental improvement and new economic opportunities and jobs. […]

Central Coast City Moves to Decarbonize New Buildings

3 Sep

Updated Sept. 4. The city of San Luis Obispo the evening of Sept. 3 became the second city in California to move toward decarbonizing buildings. The San Luis Obispo City Council approved an ordinance that will make it more difficult to build new homes and buildings that use natural gas. San Luis Obispo elected officials […]

Climate Roundup: MIT Cites Potential of Carbon Tax

3 Sep

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology report claims a modest $7 a ton carbon tax could reduce greenhouse gas emissions just as much as the various climate change programs put in place by the Obama Administration, which are now being reversed by the Trump White House. The study said that if such a tax was enacted […]

The Buzz

29 Aug

A newly amended bill that would make PG&E greener financially at ratepayers’ expense is floated. But, it may be headed for a crash landing. Another legislative action, one seeking a Constitutional Amendment, would make nuclear energy eligible for green status under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The proposal seeks to bolster the financial prospects of the […]

Hydrogen Can Make its Mark in CA’s Energy Market

29 Aug

Renewable hydrogen is expected to play an important role in the Golden State’s decarbonization efforts. It’s potentially a “multi-billion dollar industry in California,” Jeff Reed, U.C. Irvine’s Energy & Power Program chief scientist, told the California Energy Commission. There will be “a sustainable renewable hydrogen market place” by the mid- to late-2020s, said Reed during […]

Green Eggs and Nukes

28 Aug

A legislative resolution that would classify nuclear energy as a renewable resource under California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard was introduced Aug. 28. There is only one nuclear plant in the state that would benefit from ACA 18 by Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo): Diablo Canyon. “Without Diablo’s power production, there is no viable path to […]

CA Circles Wagons on Clean Car Standards

21 Aug

State leaders closed ranks this week around a two-pronged strategy to preserve the state’s clean car standards. First, California Air Resources Board officials appear to have gotten Mercedes to join in a voluntary agreement between the state and automakers to continue reducing automotive greenhouse gas emissions. Second, the state Senate Environmental Quality Committee Aug. 21 […]

Shorts

19 Aug

San Diego Gas & Electric is folding an independent marketing arm set up to lobby against community choice aggregation in its service territory. Accordingly, the utility asked the California Public Utilities Commission late last month to revoke its plan for complying with a state policy that prevents utilities from using ratepayer funding to lobby regarding […]

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 […]