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Undercurrents: Solar Gets Thumbs Up, Gas & Coal a Thumbs Down

6 Nov

EDF Renewable’s proposed 500 MW photovoltaic project slated for public land in the desert of Riverside County was approved by the Bureau of Land Management. “The Palen Solar Project will provide benefits to the local community and the region both now and in the future, demonstrating the critical role multiple-use public lands play for the […]

CA Set to Meet 2020 Renewable Standard

1 Nov

California is on target to meet that state’s 33 percent renewable portfolio standard, according to a California Public Utilities Commission report to the Legislature on Nov. 1. However, community choice aggregators and direct access providers will have to pick up their pace in procuring renewable energy. “California continues on its path to a 100 percent […]

U.S. Senate Panel Probes Restarting Grid Post Blackout

11 Oct

Amid hurricanes, floods, fires, cyber threats, and a changing power generation resource mix, concerns are rising in Washington about the ability of the nation’s power industry to restore the grid after widespread blackouts. “The question we have to be able to answer,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the U.S. Senate Energy & Natural […]

JUICE: Eyes Wide Shut on Wildfire Liability Bill

11 Sep

Lawmakers promised a transparent process for the bill sent to Gov. Jerry Brown dealing with liability for utility-sparked wildfires fueled by multi-year drought, legions of dead and dying trees and higher temperatures. Yet, the final provisions and costs of SB 901 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) were anything but transparent. Transparent is defined as “free […]

SB 100 Heads to Governor’s Desk

29 Aug

Updated Aug. 30, 2018. Sen. Kevin De León’s bill to require 100 percent clean power in California by 2045 passed the Assembly 44-33 in the early evening of Aug. 28. The next day, the state Senate concurred on a 25-13 vote with the amended Assembly version of the measure. The bill, SB 100, now goes […]

The Buzz

17 Aug

Few are holding their breath on votes on the big pending energy bills. The fate of legislation creating grid regionalization and a 100 percent green energy bill, as well as addressing wildfire liability, is anyone’s guess. Adequate and continuous funding for wildfire mitigation and management in California is the elephant in the room that legislators […]

Final Votes on Big Energy Bills Are Uncertain

16 Aug

In the final days of this legislative session, passage of the most significant state energy measures is in doubt. AB 813, by Assemblmember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), that would allow the California Independent System Operator to become a western-wide balancing authority, was pulled off the Assembly Floor Aug. 16. It was redirected to the Rules Committee. […]

Major Energy Bills Stall in Sacramento

9 Aug

Legislation that would make major changes to the state’s electricity industry failed to advance this week as lawmakers began to count down the remaining days in this year’s legislative session. One bill stalled on the Assembly floor and two were delayed in legislative appropriations committees where they face an Aug. 17 deadline for approval or […]

Power Industry Emissions Tumble

12 Jul

California surpassed its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction goal in 2016, according to the California Air Resources Board data  released July 11. The Air Board’s 2016 emissions inventory shows that greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere in California that year totaled 429 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. That was 12 million tons less than […]

Climate Roundup: ARB Seeks Fed Powwow on Car Pollution Rules

7 Jun

The California Air Resources Board renewed its request to meet with federal regulators to discuss the Trump Administration’s plan to loosen vehicle emission standards. That controversial change also includes rescinding California’s authority to set tighter greenhouse gas controls. Weakening vehicle emission rules would “result in significant harm to public health and the environment, as well […]

Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

JUICE: Timing

15 May

Timing is everything. Thus, it is noteworthy that it’s optimal timing to increase the amount of hydropower imports from the Bonneville Power Administration into California. This option has been talked about for a few years, but now the needles on California’s legal, policy and resources compasses point northwest. If the capacity of the lines carrying […]

CASIO Warns of Potential Summer Grid Emergency

10 May

Though power demand will be about the same this summer as last, California’s grid operator warns that electricity supplies will be diminished due to lower levels of hydropower production after a dry winter and the retirement of natural gas power plants. The California Independent System Operator May 9 forecasted a 50 percent chance of a […]

Undercurrents

18 Apr

Updated April 19. A group of Los Angeles County homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit earlier this month alleging that Renovate America and Renew Financial, which contract with Los Angeles County to operate the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program, failed to offer basic consumer protections. The suit claims that PACE loans provided by the […]

Shorts

2 Apr

Updated April 5 California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  joined a coalition of Attorneys General suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to reduce methane emissions from oil and natural gas facilities. “EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has a legal responsibility to reduce methane emissions from existing oil and natural gas operations. We are taking him to court […]

Senate Panel Begins Work on Energy Measures

5 Dec

A U.S. Senate committee took testimony during a Dec. 5 hearing on seven separate bills dealing with Department of Energy programs. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes pledged to work with the House Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Power as the bills advance. He expressed enthusiasm about some of the measures, including […]

Undercurrents

29 Nov

The Bonneville Power Administration is keeping an eye on how flows of electricity to California and others in the grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market might affect its ability to provide reliable power to the Pacific Northwest. Russell Mantifel, Bonneville EIM access program manager, outlined the effort in a presentation Nov. 28 at the Regional EIM […]

The Buzz

20 Oct

Greening the grid is the talk of the town. At the CAISO’s annual confab held this week, most bets are that a westward grid expansion will happen. Why? Because proponents insist it will promote renewables, which will decarbonize both the grid and economy, near and far. Achieving that goal, however, requires paying new alternative resources […]

SMUD To More Than Double Its Cloud Seeding

19 Oct

In the hopes it will lead to higher levels of hydropower generation, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s board Oct. 19 approved expanding the muni’s cloud seeding program over the Upper American River Basin. The action will expand SMUD’s historical cloud seeding program from an area of 190 square miles to 444 square miles beginning this […]

CEC Turns Down LADWP’s Renewable Credit Bid

11 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 11 declined a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power appeal to have a contract with Powerex for small hydropower count toward compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The decision stemmed from an appeal LADWP filed in 2014 after the commission denied compliance credit for the power contract at […]