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Climate Roundup: Focus on Consumption-Based GHG Accounting

23 May

A bill set for a Friday hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee would require California to take a broader approach to measuring greenhouse gas reductions. It would include the carbon content of the products Californians consume instead of just the emissions produced in the state. AB 2726 by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-North Bay) passed the […]

The Buzz

17 May

Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal. Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last […]

Climate Roundup: Environmentalists Sue EPA on Car Mileage Standards

15 May

The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations joined the legal fray this week over the Trump Administration’s plans to weaken federal mileage standards for autos designed to cut greenhouse gases and encourage production of electric vehicles. The Sierra Club filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit against the federal Environmental […]

Brown’s Budget Update Hikes Forest Fire Prevention Funds

15 May

Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised 2018-19 budget proposal released May 11 would allocate $1.25 billion in carbon cap-and- trade revenue to protect against climate change. Included is $256 million to reduce wildfire threats in the state, up from $220 million this fiscal year. Brown’s initial budget, released in January, included $160 million of cap-and-trade auction revenue […]

Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

Automakers Aim to Ease Tensions in Emissions War

14 May

Automakers may have eased tensions a bit last week between the Trump Administration and California over greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards for new cars for model years 2022-2025. In a statement following a meeting between automakers and President Donald Trump at the White House May 11, the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers stated that […]

The Buzz

4 May

Trump and friends‘ effort to dismantle climate protection and alternative energy laws are keeping California lawyers busy, although legislative overkill has weakened some challenges. But harm from the federal administration’s rejiggering of formulas that will turn the pluses of lower carbon emissions and energy efficient appliances into minuses is closer at hand. Back in San […]

CPUC to Develop CA Power Restructuring Plan

3 May

In the midst of related proceedings, California utility regulators called for a statewide conversation about the future structure and regulation of the power industry May 3. They continued to warn about the proliferation of customer-owned solar systems, community choice aggregation, and other developments that threaten to destabilize traditional utilities and electric grid reliability in California. […]

JUICE: Building Industry’s Decoy

1 May

Updated May 2 A curious report released a couple of weeks ago found that converting space and water heating systems and cooking ranges in homes from natural gas to electricity would raise utility bills and home prices, while doing little to lower greenhouse gas levels in the state. This report by Navigant for the California […]

The Buzz

27 Apr

Legislation to raise payments to needed gas power plants in California, to increase the use of home electric air and space heating, and to make school reps eligible for intervenor compensation make the cut. Midweek, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee sends these measures on to the next committee. Measures to bolster energy storage and […]

Bills to Aid Gas Plants, School Energy Bills & Reduce Building Emissions Advance

26 Apr

Measures to increase payments to needed, but struggling gas power plants in California, to assess how to increase the use of electric air and space heating in homes, and to extend intervenor compensation to schools were sent to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed these and other energy bills April […]

Bills Advance to Promote Storage, Green Buses & Hydrogen

26 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee approved nine energy bills April 25, including measures to require utilities to procure more energy storage and to set rates that encourage electric bus deployment. SB 1347 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) passed on a 9-1 vote. It would require the California Public Utilities Commission by 2020 […]

Undercurrents

25 Apr

A bill to carve out a utility procurement mandate for biomass, biogas, and geothermal power made it through an Assembly Committee April 23, but only after specific numeric requirements were axed and replaced with vague placeholder language. AB 2208 by Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters), who represents the Geysers geothermal resource area, said her bill “will […]

The Buzz

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agrees to rules increasing transparency on above market payments grid operators make to uneconomic resources, and getting interconnection agreements in gear. They also open the door to input on their problematic natural gas pipeline permitting process. In addition to shining a light on “uplift” payments for resources that can’t recover […]

Bills Aim to Bolster Biomass, Geothermal, Reduce Munis Power Costs

18 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee voted to move two controversial measures forward April 18 setting procurement mandates for geothermal and biomass energy and to preserve a tariff that offers some municipal governments and others favorable rate treatment when they have solar systems. Lawmakers okayed the bills despite warnings they would raise the cost of […]

Utility Wildfire Cost Recovery Bill Blasted for Overreach

18 Apr

Private utility wildfire liability is a huge concern at the state capitol. During an April 17 hearing, legislators grappled with how to protect utilities from overwhelming liability in the face of impacts to ratepayers, third-party distributed energy and the growing number of people living near the risky wildland-urban interface. “We here in the Senate know […]

Bills Pass on Diablo Closure Funds, EV Chargers & Biomethane

18 Apr

After debating sticky measures to change fire liability parameters for utilities, the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved less controversial measures. That includes ones to restore community and employee mitigation funds linked to the Diablo nuclear plant closure and to increase accessibility of public electric vehicle chargers. SB 1090 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) […]

JUICE: 100% Renewable Bill Withers

17 Apr

Solar panels and solar water heaters gleam on every fourth or fifth house as I drive along the road to Kahului from Lahaina on Maui after passing a bank of wind turbines spinning in the ever constant Trade Winds. In O’ahu the view is much the same, with massive banks of solar panels visible everywhere, […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Consideration of a ballot measure to mandate that San Diego Gas & Electric serve only green energy to the City of San Diego if it wants a renewed franchise agreement was sent back to go. Leading gubernatorial Republican candidates challenge the recently enacted gas tax hike and the bullet train. Democratic governor hopefuls want to […]

Gubernatorial Candidates Stances on Energy

10 Apr

As the June gubernatorial primary nears, the large field of candidates is drilling down on transportation, green jobs, climate change and the environment. Leading Republicans challenge the recently enacted gas tax hike and the bullet train. Democrats largely pledge to build on what Gov. Jerry Brown has done with some twists. San Francisco Mayor Gavin […]