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The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

Federal Car Emission Standards Rollback Gets Pushback

2 Apr

The Trump Administration’s final rule allowing higher emissions from new cars and small trucks suffered a couple of blows this week. A federal appeals court April 1 said it could not justify why the governing federal agencies hid underlying modelling details of the effect of the weaker emissions standards for vehicles with model years 2021-26. […]

Shorts

1 Apr

The East Bay Community Energy is directing $1.5 million toward community relief efforts in Alameda County, it announced April 2. EBCE’s CEO Nick Chaset told the management team to identify “opportunities in the current budget to repurpose as contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts.” The efforts will be tracked at: https://ebce.org/covid The Salt River Project and […]

Federal Clean Car Rules Officially Weakened

31 Mar

The Trump Administration followed through on its threat to rollback emission standards on new vehicles and small trucks, harming California’s and other states’ efforts to reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued their final rule weakening fuel economy standards March 31. Annual carbon […]

JUICE: Major Forces

31 Mar

The COVID-19 contagion is putting center stage provisions in power purchase agreements that often sit in the wings: those governing the responsibilities and liabilities of the contracting parties, and the timing of their obligations, when an unforeseen disaster or Act of God hits. These “force majeure” clauses, which may include pandemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and war, […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

CAISO Approves $142M in New Transmission, Sees Decline in Load

26 Mar

Demand on the California grid has dropped by 5% since state residents were instructed to stay in their homes to slow the pace of the coronavirus, Steve Berberich, California Independent System Operator president and chief executive officer, said during the March 25 board meeting. During its first totally telephonic business meeting mid-week, the board of […]

PG&E Financing Plan Struggles in Market Storm

24 Mar

The current market volatility is creating difficulties for the deals essential to Pacific Gas & Electric’s emergence from bankruptcy. “It’s very, very challenging,” said Gabe Grosberg, Standard &Poor’s senior director, of the pandemic’s impact on the market and in turn PG&E’s reorganization efforts. “The economy will continue to be bad at least until the third […]

The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

PG&E Pleads Guilty to Criminal Counts in Camp Fire, Fights $2.1B Penalty

23 Mar

Pacific Gas & Electric pled guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one of illegally starting the devastating 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, according to its March 23 Securities & Exchange Commission filing. The company agreed to pay $3.5 million in fines, as well as $500 million for the Butte […]

Possible Sale of PG&E under Deal with Newsom

20 Mar

Under an agreement reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom announced late Friday, Pacific Gas & Electric agrees the state or another entity could buy the company if it fails to exit bankruptcy by June 30. Under the deal filed March 20 in federal Bankruptcy Court, PG&E commits to selling the utility “in the unlikely circumstance” its […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

Court Signs Off on Part of PG&E Reorganization Plan

17 Mar

The U.S Bankruptcy Court approved nearly $20 billion in equity and debt financing as part of Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to exit Chapter 11 proceedings by June 30. The approval came during a March 16 telephonic hearing. The power company will be allowed to enter into $10.83 billion in debt financing, and issue $9 […]

OPINIONATED: Setting the Record Straight on SMUD’s Community Solar

17 Mar

Editor’s Note: SMUD responds to criticism of its Solar Shares program raised in a March 2 editorial by local solar advocate Dave Rosenfeld. SMUD’s community solar program was approved by the California Energy Commission last month.  California’s 2019 Building Standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and included a requirement for the use of solar […]

CA-Quebec Auction Produces Welcome Results Amid Trump Challenge

16 Mar

A federal judge rejected an initial attempt to break up the California-Quebec carbon credit trading market. The market allows carbon emitters in the state and province to take advantage of efficiencies in reducing pollution. The decision came on the heels of a successful auction round concluded Feb. 26. Late last week, Federal District Court Judge […]

Monterey to Accept Diablo Nuke Power, Some CCAs Remain Undecided

10 Mar

Updated March 11 When state regulators unanimously adopted a 50% hike in the exit fee imposed on a group of community choice aggregators in Pacific Gas & Electric territory last month, it revealed how much they are paying for the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. It is one-third of this year’s Power Charge Indifference Adjustment, […]

Offshore Wind Workshop Blows Through Sacramento

9 Mar

California has the fifth-largest installed wind resource capacity in the United States, at 6 GW as of the end of 2019, but none of it includes offshore wind. The California Energy Commission is promoting offshore wind development because it can help the state reach it’s 60% renewable mandate by 2030. “Supporting innovation and lowering cost […]

Smaller Nukes will Cut Carbon Pollution, House Panel Finds

3 Mar

Smaller, more advanced nuclear power plants were touted as part of the nation’s clean energy solution during a March 3 House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing. These not-yet commercial smaller modules are projected to produce less radioactive waste, be more flexible and include enhanced safety features. They compare favorably to today’s large nuclear power plants, […]