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New Laws Fully Fund Diablo Canyon Closure & Lift Direct Access Cap

20 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 19 signed a bill to restore funds the California Public Utilities Commission cut from a closure cost settlement agreement for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County. The next day he signed another measure to expand direct access to power supplies by businesses. SB 1090 will backfill […]

New Low Emissions Building Incentive Program Is Among Bills Brown Signs

14 Sep

Updated Sept. 19, 2018. Putting his pen where his mouth is, outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown signed numerous bills during the Global Climate Action Summit Sept. 13 that seek to slash greenhouse gases in the state from transportation, buildings and natural gas use. Many, however, are little more than symbolic measures, including codifying existing practices. The […]

Brown Basks in Glow of Cap & Trade

11 Sep

The day after Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 100—requiring that 100 percent of California’s electricity come from wind, solar and other carbon neutral resources by 2045—the 80-year old governor celebrated a victory lap as he heads toward retirement. He touted the state’s carbon cap-and-trade market during a Sept. 11 conference on carbon pricing. […]

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 […]

CA’s Electricity Mandate is Now 100% Carbon-Free

10 Sep

Just a couple days ahead of his Global Climate Action Summit, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation setting a 100 percent carbon-free standard for the state’s electricity sector to be reached by 2045. Sen. Kevin de León’s SB 100 also advances by five years the 50 percent alternative energy mandate from 2030 to 2025 and sets […]

Climate Roundup: Removing Carbon & LA’s Cooling Strategies

10 Sep

As temperatures climb, geo-engineering solutions to global warming are under heightened discussion, including efforts to sequester carbon from the atmosphere by the forestry and farm management sectors. In addition, high-tech efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and oceans are on the table. The various strategies are outlined in a series of papers by […]

CAISO Chief Laments Grid Regionalization Bill Failure

6 Sep

The grid operator’s chief executive officer went off script in his report to board this week to lambaste those who opposed AB 813. The bill would have authorized the California Independent System Operator to create a multi-state grid and wholesale power market in the West. “Those who opposed this are on the wrong side of […]

LADWP Reviews Tough Power Line Fire Safety Rules

5 Sep

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board  heard that the muni’s  wildfire construction safety standards for power lines exceed state requirements, satisfying a state law enacted in 2016. LADWP changed its standards ten years ago after the catastrophic 2007 wildfires in San Diego that were partly sparked by San Diego Gas & Electric […]

Two Dozen Senate Energy Bills Sent to Governor

4 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown has to decide if a number of bills should become law, including Senate measures to increase direct access for businesses, overhaul utility energy efficiency programs, increase mandated energy storage levels, and create new incentives for near zero emissions space and water heating in buildings. Brown also has to decide whether to sign […]

Bills Bolster Private Utilities’ Bottom Line & Building Emission Cuts

4 Sep

In a last-minute rewrite with minimal transparency, lawmakers passed a bill shielding Pacific Gas & Electric shareholders from massive wildfire liability but lacked similar gusto to pass legislation allowing for a regionalization of California’s electric grid. The grid regionalization bill, the two-year AB 813, remained stuck in the Rules Committee throughout the final two weeks […]

Utility Wildfire Liability Bill Rises from the Ash

29 Aug

New life was breathed into legislation to reduce utilities’ wildfire liability Aug. 28 that seemingly had been left in the char last week. SB 901 was declared all but dead and subsequent scheduled legislative conference committee hearings on the measure were cancelled. Then, the bill was overhauled behind closed doors. Few committee members or stakeholders […]

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 […]

OPINIONATED: Go Back to Aliso Canyon Deal Drawing Board

28 Aug

By V. John White Three years ago, Aliso Canyon was home to the largest methane leak in U.S. history, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations, the release of more than 100,000 tons of potent GHG emissions, and the evacuation of more than 10,000 families. Earlier this month, the state attorney general and California Air Resources Board […]

Live Energy Bills & Ones on Life Support

23 Aug

Bills to move to 100 percent greenhouse gas-free power and to grow energy storage in California are close the finish line. But, legislation to open up direct access was gutted and is unlikely to be put to a vote. SB 100, to require 100 percent carbon-free power in California by 2045, remains alive as lawmakers […]

JUICE: Fire, Fury & Finances

20 Aug

The collapse of legislative efforts to shield utilities from liability when their power lines spark wildfires—even when they’ve followed all safety rules—may be seen as a moral victory by the bill’s opponents. But, electric power ratepayers won’t be protected from higher bills in the years ahead. The effort collapsed under major pressure from consumer advocates, […]

Shorts

20 Aug

Idaho Power and PacifiCorp will rely on the grid operator for reliability coordinator services, the California Independent Operator stated Aug. 23. CAISO is withdrawing from Peak Reliability Coordinator by September 1, 2019, to form its own reliability coordinator program. The Balancing Authority of Northern California also is planning to switch to CAISO for the services. […]

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. […]

Long-term Funding for Wildfire Prevention?

15 Aug

As a legislative conference committee continues hearings aimed at fashioning legislation to address wildfire destruction in California, looming largely in the discussion room is the need for additional and sustained money. CalFire Director Ken Pimlott told lawmakers Aug. 15 that his department simply does not have enough inspectors to begin policing electric lines. He added […]

Legislative Panel Refocuses on Flammable Fuels Reduction

15 Aug

Following three hearings on utility wildfire liability risks from strict liability, a fourth legislative conference committee hearing on wildfires focused on the huge amount of highly flammable fuels in forested areas, including 129 million dead and dying trees. “It is critical to reduce wildfire fuels,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), co-chair of the legislative conference […]