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JUICE: The Direct Access Elephant

16 Oct

Energy regulators’ controversial vote last week to raise the fees on customers who’ve left investor-owned utilities for community energy programs is not expected to halt or significantly impede existing and emerging community aggregators up and down the state. The estimated 15 percent increase in community energy programs’ share of utility generation costs under the newly […]

Newsom & Cox Clash on Energy & Climate Change

9 Oct

Gubernatorial candidates Gavin Newsom and John Cox squared off Oct. 8 in a debate on KQED, clashing over energy and climate policy. Cox, the Republican champion, emphasized the need to pursue “affordable” energy and climate change policies. Newsom endorsed the Gov. Jerry Brown’s current direction, which he said is creating new job opportunities and “green […]

Civil Rights Group Sues CARB for Climate Discrimination

3 Oct

California’s air regulators were slapped with a lawsuit charging that their greenhouse gas reduction policies and practices, specifically the 2017 scoping plan to achieve mandated carbon reductions, are racially and economically discriminatory. “California’s climate change policies, and specifically those policies that increase the cost and delay or reduce the availability of housing, that increase the […]

Juice: Behind-the-Meter it’s Caveat Emptor

2 Oct

As California rushes headlong into behind-the-utility meter approaches to providing greener energy for homes and businesses—from deep energy efficiency retrofits, to solar and energy storage batteries—critical consumer protection standards and enforcement are missing in action. The net result of inadequate consumer protections is that many who’ve leased or borrowed money to install solar systems are […]

West Saw Record summer Power Prices, Says EIA

25 Sep

Power prices this past summer were the highest in the western U.S. since 2008, according to an Energy Information Administration report released Sept. 25. A separate EIA analysis showed that almost one-third of U.S. households regularly struggle to pay their energy bills. Power prices surged in the West this summer, particularly in California, due largely […]

Analysis: Who Will Capture Value Behind-the-Meter

25 Sep

By Fereidoon P. Sioshansi, Ph.D. The evidence that the place to focus on in the future is mostly behind-the-meter (BTM) is gaining momentum. In early September, Energy Post published an extensive interview with Jan Vrins, managing director at Navigant, a consultancy. He said the much talked about energy transition, “… has already happened. We have […]

Juice: Small Trumps Big in the Legislature

25 Sep

Sacramento’s final legislative scorecard for 2018 shows that small-scale, localized, and free market approaches to the state’s electricity future were winners, while large-scale strategies based on continuing the dominant role of monopoly utilities were losers. The biggest harbinger of what the future is likely to look like was the failure of AB 813 by Assemblymember […]

Shorts

18 Sep

Sempra Energy is selling its non-utility solar energy assets to Consolidated Edison, the San Diego-based company revealed Sept. 20. Sempra also is selling battery energy storage development projects and one wind facility. The total sale will bring it $1.54 billion in cash. The assets included are: Mesquite Solar 2 and 3 in Arizona; Copper Mountain […]

Climate Change Puts Pressure on Utility Rates

12 Sep

Global warming is increasingly driving energy utility expenditures and could lead to higher utility rates in the years ahead, a key state energy official said Sept. 12. Utilities, said Cliff Rechtschaffen, California Public Utilities Commission member, already are factoring the impacts of global warming into what they seek as revenue requirements in their general rate […]

PCIA Alternate Threatens Choice Programs, Say Aggregators

11 Sep

Updated Sept. 12, 2018. A proposed alternate decision on how to handle “exit” charges from investor-owned utilities for community choice aggregation programs and direct access providers is drawing substantial support from consumer advocates and utilities. Community choice aggregators, however, maintain that if the alternate decision by California Public Utilities Commission member Carla Peterman is adopted […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: Exit Fee Proposal Bashed by Mayors

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. The mayors of major Bay Area cities Sept. 3 protested a proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission released last month that would raise exits fees for community choice aggregators. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the tentative decision by Commissioner Carla […]

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 […]

OPINIONATED: Oil vs. Electricity?

4 Sep

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Oil vs. electricity is an odd comparison. The two are separate and unrelated forms of energy–with the possible exception of a few places where oil is still burned to generate electricity, such as in Saudi Arabia. While most people acknowledge the disproportionate dominance of oil relative to electricity in terms of supplying […]

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 […]

EPA Rolls Out Clean Power Plan Replacement

21 Aug

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Aug. 21 proposed replacing the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, which is aimed at cutting the power industry’s greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent, with the so-called Affordable Clean Energy rule. The new proposed rule “would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide modern, […]

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, […]

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 […]

Renewable Energy Curtailments Rising

14 Aug

The amount of wind and solar energy production in California that is being curtailed has gone up dramatically since 2014, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Based on California Independent System Operator records, NRDC found there was a 600 percent increase in curtailment in May of this year compared to May of 2014. This […]