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CEC Funds Biomass Project in Mariposa County

21 Mar

Mariposa County will become the site of a small biomass-fed power plant that will add 2.4 MW of local generation capacity to the area and help facilitate removal of dead pine trees. The huge numbers of dead trees in the area create a fire hazard and threaten to fall into homes. The Commission also provided […]

Western ISO Bill Nixes Capacity Market, Bolsters CEC Authority

20 Mar

Changes to legislation to allow California’s grid operator to transform into a western balancing authority give the California Energy Commission the power to decide whether a proposed governance proposal passes muster. The latest iteration of AB 813 by Assembly Utilities & Energy Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) also would prohibit creating a centralized capacity market. Assemblymember […]

Bill Backfills Diablo Nuke Employee Incentives & San Luis Obispo Revenue

19 Mar

Legislation would restore $215 million for employee retention and community mitigation cut by state regulators from a proposed agreement on the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Sen. Bill Monning (R-Carmel) March 16 followed through on his pledge to fully reinstate ratepayer funding for those proposed terms for shutting down the […]

Opinionated: The Long & Winding Road to End Nuclear Power in California

19 Mar

By The Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility The end of commercial nuclear power in California approaches, a little more than half a century after it began. Of all the promises and boasts made by the early proponents of nuclear energy, their claim of “too cheap to meter” would eventually prove to be its undoing—at least here […]

Panel Hears Conflicting Views on Potential CAISO Expansion

15 Mar

After last year’s attempt to ram through legislation to unify the Western grid, the benefits and risks of expanding the California’s grid operator’s footprint were publicly debated by the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee March 14. The focus of the panel’s hearing was AB 813 by Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena), committee chair. Last year, he […]

CA Leaders Poised to Act on Utility Wildfire Costs

13 Mar

California’s political leadership announced March 13 their collaboration on developing measures that lessen the impacts of devastating fires, mudslides and other climate driven natural disasters. That includes pushing expected legislation to allow utilities to recover all of their wildfire costs from ratepayers. “It is critical we take strong and comprehensive action to protect all Californians […]

The Buzz

9 Mar

A sizable midweek natural gas leak in San Diego shuts down a freeway, a huge mall and requires evacuations. As bad is the accompanying lack of a quick and easy shut off. Hours before, information leaked out that natural gas withdrawals from Aliso Canyon by SoCal Gas were quietly okayed over the weekend, riling a […]

Budget Panel Picks Apart Energy Budgets

9 Mar

A Senate budget subcommittee questioned some of the governor’s proposed budget items for the energy agencies, including different funding sources for electric vehicle charging. Included in the new potential funding pots for EV infrastructure is money from the California Energy Commission’s solar homes and air quality programs. “This raises key policy questions,” Legislative Analyst Brian […]

Picker Grilled on Aliso Canyon & Community Choice

7 Mar

During a March 6 hearing by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee, the California Public Utilities president was questioned about a closed-door decision to allow SoCal Gas to withdraw natural gas from Aliso Canyon. Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) was highly critical of a decision made the previous Saturday by CPUC Energy Division Director […]

The Buzz

2 Mar

Tin ears are prevalent this week. During the U.S. EPA’s public “listening session” in San Francisco mid-week on the agency’s plan to revoke the Clean Power Plan, Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board head, questions agency officials’ hearing ability. The decibels in the room increase with the long line of speakers blasting the proposed repeal […]

Lawmakers Fear Utility Bankruptcies

27 Feb

State legislators voiced angst about the potential for utility bankruptcies Feb. 26 during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing on the impact of recent wildfires on the power industry. Recent credit rating actions by Standard & Poor’s for Pacific Gas & Electric—and even on a major solar project that feeds power to the utility […]

Undercurrents: Grid Regionalization Legislation Rises

21 Feb

Grid regionalization legislation appears to be back on the table, with draft language being circulated in Sacramento by Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena). Holden amended a bill late in last year’s legislative session to include provisions to allow the California Independent System Operator to move forward with a regionalized western grid […]

Legislature Sets Busy Agenda with More Energy Bills

20 Feb

Legislators in Sacramento continued introducing energy-related measures through the end of last week, including perennial bills that to make large hydropower a qualified source of renewable energy and to promote electric vehicles. While some are largely statements of intent at this juncture—with the substance to be developed later—two of the more developed measures introduced in […]

New Energy Bills Pile Up Before Deadline

14 Feb

As lawmakers work furiously to meet a Feb. 15 deadline for introducing new legislation in Sacramento, numerous energy-related measures were introduced as of Feb. 13. In the Senate, new measures would backfill the loss of local government revenue in San Luis Obispo County projected to result from the upcoming closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear […]

JUICE: A Legislative Energy Agenda

6 Feb

As the Legislature gathers steam in Sacramento, numerous key energy-related issues are ripe for action, from how to deal with over-capacity in the state’s power market to the extent to which electric utilities should be liable for wildfires sparked by their equipment. Energy agencies are attempting to deal with some of the conflicts—for instance, exit […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

Climate Roundup: Climate Change Adoption Report

30 Jan

The California Natural Resources Agency updated its climate adaptation report Jan. 29 against the backdrop of rising temperatures, a season of major wildfires, and extreme weather events. “California leads the nation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat the effects of climate change, but impacts already are being felt and they are disproportionately affecting our […]

New State & PG&E Initiatives Aim to Advance Electric Transportation

29 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown proposed spending $2.5 billion over the next eight years to increase the sales of zero emissions vehicles in California. The governor on Jan. 26 also issued an executive order setting a new target of getting 5 million zero emissions vehicles on the state’s roads by 2030. “This executive order aims to curb […]

Brown Touts Climate Change Leadership in State of the State

25 Jan

Gov. Jerry Brown highlighted the state’s leadership on climate change in his final State of the State Address to a joint session of the Legislature Jan. 25. He promised he would soon unveil a carbon cap-and-trade program expenditure plan that helps all California communities. “The science of climate change is not in doubt,” said the […]

The Buzz

18 Jan

The California grid operator plans to move into the western reliability coordination market. And, it plans to do so at a steep discount. An independent group of scientists finds that gas storage fields are needed now, but might later be converted to store clean fuels or captured carbon dioxide. Forthcoming federal standards aim to improve […]