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The Buzz

7 Jul

Taking the “dis” out of disadvantaged communities was center stage for lawmakers and regulators this week.  Reversing the trend of rising climate emissions and co-pollutants in poor local neighborhoods was the focus of a joint legislative Climate Change Policy panel.  Meanwhile, the CPUC zeroed in on making environmental justice  energy programs just. The Utilities & […]

Climate Roundup: Brown to Hold World Climate Meeting

3 Jul

Editor’s Note: Updated July 6 Gov. Jerry Brown announced July 6 he is convening  a global climate action summit in San Francisco, CA. It is planned for September 2018. “It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]


3 Jul

Volvo will sell only hybrid and pure electric powered vehicles beginning in 2019. “People increasingly demand electrified cars and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs,” Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo president and chief executive, stated July 5. Volvo announced it will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021. The car […]

CA Supreme Court Rejects Review of Cap-&-Trade

29 Jun

California’s carbon cap-and-trade program is bona fide until the end of the decade. The state Supreme Court June 28 denied two petitions to hear a legal challenge to the California Air Resources Board greenhouse gas emissions trading program. “Today’s decision helps clear the way for California to continue its ambitious, globally significant climate leadership, and […]

Undercurrents: San Juan Capistrano Challenges the CPUC’s Approval of SDG&E Project

27 Jun

Editor’s Note: this article was updated June 29. The City of San Juan Capistrano filed suit against the California Public Utilities Commission for approving San Diego Gas & Electric’s South Orange County transmission upgrade project last December. The city claims the project, which would add $400 million to the ratebase, is not needed for reliability […]

Regional Air Board Postpones Vote on Oil Refineries Carbon Cap

22 Jun

After Bay Area regulators announced in late May they were taking the bold step of capping greenhouse gases from regional oil refineries, controversy over last-minute revisions killed support for the emissions ceiling midweek. During a testy June 21 meeting of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, a staff revision to loosen the limit and […]

Climate Roundup: Renewable Gas & Higher RPS Are Pricey Options

21 Jun

Renewable natural gas and increasing the state’s 50 percent renewable portfolio standard are the two most expensive options for cutting greenhouse gas emissions under consideration in Sacramento, according to an analysis by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. LAO ranked the cost per ton of emissions reduction for a variety of measures. It found that adopting a […]


21 Jun

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia June 20 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of PJM’s revised electricity rules for the capacity market. The rules, approved by FERC in June of 2015, add higher penalties for non-performance and an increased cost cap. “Procurements in solar, wind, and demand response fell […]

Climate Roundup: Yanking of Methane Rule Challenged

6 Jun

A coalition of environmental groups brought a lawsuit June 5 to stop the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from halting new curbs on methane leaks from the oil and gas sector. Methane is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The petition, filed in the Court of Appeals […]

Cap & Trade Bills in Limbo

2 Jun

Editor’s Note: Story was written June 1. As a key legislative deadline approaches tonight for passing bills out of their chamber of origin, the fate of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program remains uncertain. Gov. Jerry Brown has pressed state lawmakers to pass a measure to continue the landmark program through 2030 by a two-thirds vote […]

PG&E Sued Over Tragic Oakland Warehouse Fire

18 May

Pacific Gas & Electric is among the long list of named defendants in a consolidated wrongful death suit filed mid-week following the fire in a makeshift artist residence in an Oakland warehouse last December. The blaze and inability to escape what has been called a “death trap” killed 36 people and injured many more. The […]


10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

Legal Group Appeals Cap-and-Trade Ruling

14 Apr

The Pacific Legal Foundation April 14 said it will appeal to California’s high court the recent appellate court ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the state’s carbon cap and trade program. “The state Supreme Court needs to decide whether this strong-arm ultimatum is really, as the appellate court majority called it, a ‘voluntary’ arrangement that […]

The Buzz

13 Apr

Eggs gathered in Current’s Easter news basket include approval of two controversial and large natural gas project redos along the SoCal coast. The California Energy Commission unanimously approved the Huntington & Alamitos replacement projects, which are to be cooled with air, not seawater-cooled. On the agenda at this week’s Energy Commission post business meeting closed […]

CA Joins Suit Against DOE Over Efficiency Standards

13 Apr

The California Energy Commission took action after discussing pending litigation against the U.S. Department of Energy for delaying energy efficiency standards for numerous products during the closed session portion of its April 12 business meeting. The CEC chair authorized the chief counsel’s office to participate in litigation over the DOE’s stalling on  “effective dates and […]

Undercurrents: Possible Settlement on Nuke Waste

12 Apr

In a move that grabbed headlines in Southern California but may not amount to much, a group agreed April 7 to settle a suit to block Southern California Edison from expanding nuclear waste dry cask storage facilities at its closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. With the lack of any long-term repository for spent […]

Appeals Court Upholds Cap & Trade

6 Apr

On a 2-1 decision, California’s Third District Court of Appeal April 6 upheld the constitutionality of the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, ruling that auctioning off carbon emissions rights does not constitute a tax. The court in Sacramento reasoned that the Legislature gave the California Air Resources Board the broad authority it needed to devise a […]

Undercurrents: LADWP Refunds Expected this Summer

28 Mar

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power this week plans to begin notifying its 2.4 million customers of how the muni plans to resolve overbilling errors that occurred after a flawed billing system was rolled out in 2013. The notice will provide the details of a planned court settlement expected to be approved by […]


28 Mar

The March 30 state snow survey shows the snowpack is at 164 percent of the historical average, at 45.8 inches, meaning high river flows and full reservoirs. “California enters the snowmelt season with a large snowpack that will result in high water in many rivers through the spring,” said Michael Anderson, state climatologist. Electronic measurements […]