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The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

Edison’s Earnings Drop, PG&E’s Losses Less Grim

30 Jul

Two of California’s three investor-owned utilities reported second quarter earnings this week. Edison International’s earnings were not as rosy as the same quarter last year, Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s were not as bad. Sempra reports earnings next week. Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, reported a drop in second quarter earnings […]

News Roundup: Trump Names Two FERC Nominees

28 Jul

After months of ignoring the Democrats’ nominee for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, while advancing the Republican choice for another, President Donald Trump July 27 accepted two prospective commissioners, one from each party. Democrats chose Allison Clements, and Republicans chose Mark Christie. “In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, […]

Juice: The Road from Coal to Green Hydrogen

28 Jul

Back in 2006, the California legislature passed a bill limiting imports of electricity from coal-fired power plants in other states, as well as from new and upgraded in-state natural gas facilities. SB 1368 by former Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland) was groundbreaking, requiring utility supply contracts to not exceed a greenhouse gas emissions cap. It sent […]

Conflict Grows Between SoCal Gas and Ratepayer Advocate

27 Jul

California’s ratepayer advocate asked state regulators to fine SoCal Gas $4.5 million for ignoring a subpoena for financial records showing how much ratepayer money it spent on bogus grassroots efforts to undermine building electrification and other moves to phase out natural gas use. The amount of money the gas utility directed to outside lobbyists could […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]

FERC Unsettles Hard-won Deal to Remove Klamath Dams

23 Jul

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission threw a wrench into the planned demolition of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River straddling California and Oregon. The dams are owned by Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp. Last week, FERC approved a partial transfer of licensing for the 163 MW dams on the lower river, from PacifiCorp to a nonprofit […]

Warren Buffett Bids to Replace SDG&E

21 Jul

San Diego will take formal bids for alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric as its power supplier because of the upcoming expiration of the utility’s franchise agreement with the city. Billionaire Warren Buffet will bid into the city’s solicitation. SDG&E’s 50-year franchise agreement, which allows use of San Diego’s rights-of-way for delivery of electricity […]

Calif.-Quebec Cap & Trading Upheld by Federal Court

20 Jul

A federal district court in California again rejected the Trump Administration claim that the Golden State’s carbon cap-and-trade program with Quebec interfered with federal authority over foreign affairs. “Overall, the United States has failed to identify a clear and express foreign policy that directly conflicts with California’s cap-and-trade program,” the U.S. District Court for the […]

Shorts

20 Jul

The California Coastal Commission on a 10-0 vote approved Southern California Edison’s management plan for its radioactive waste stored at its shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. SCE earlier contracted with Holtec for dry cask spent fuel canisters at the Camp Pendleton site. The agency approved July 16 the utility’s inspection and maintenance activities for […]

Closer Scrutiny for Rising Utility Bills

16 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission July 16 adopted a groundbreaking blueprint for judging the affordability of all essential utility services, from power to water, for struggling ratepayers. No California agency has ever evaluated the reasonableness of combined utility costs for low income customers, who have been hit hard by shelter-at-home rules and resulting unemployment.   […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

Enviro Groups Try to Head Off Renewable Gas

14 Jul

Rejecting the term “renewable natural gas,” two environmental organizations have issued a report calling the fuel both environmentally and financially unsustainable. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice say that using biogas from landfills and dairies, biomass and synthetic gas in place of electrification does “not provide a path to decarbonizing the gas grid in line with […]

CAISO Seeks to Optimize Combined Solar-Storage Production

7 Jul

The grid operator board will vote later this month on a proposed change that would add flexibility in the amount of megawatts the California Independent System Operator can accept into its real-time market from co-located solar and storage facilities, and other mixed fuel projects.  The rule change, expected to go into effect in the fall, […]

The Buzz

2 Jul

Before the start of the fireworks, Pacific Gas & Electric announced it funded most of the $6.75 billion cash payment to fire victims. It also lined up another $12 billion to pay insurance claims as well as cities impacted by utility-sparked fires that burned from 2015-2018. Hydrogen fuel to lower transportation emissions, California’s biggest source […]

CEC Continues Steady Push for Hydrogen

2 Jul

The California Energy Commission’s continued funding for research and development to create emissions-free hydrogen fuel for transportation and energy storage is beginning to show results.  “Adoption is happening, but the supply is thin,” Wayne Leighty with Shell Energy said during a July 2 California Energy Commission workshop. “Don’t worry about getting it right, but getting […]

PG&E Has $17B on Hand for Fire Victims & Cities

1 Jul

Updated July 2 Pacific Gas & Electric announced July 1 it funded much of the cash portion of its $13.5 billion settlement with victims of wildfires from 2015-18, as well as the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. PG&E funded the victim trust with $5.4 billion in cash. It will receive a further $650 million cash […]

CA Budget Seeds PG&E Alternative

1 Jul

There is a clue in the new budget agreed to by lawmakers and the governor that they are serious about taking over PG&E and turning it into a non-profit utility. The budget contains a provision for a $50 million loan to the new entity under the newly enacted SB 350. That law says PG&E would […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]