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Central Procurement Bill Advances After Being Narrowed

23 Apr

An Assembly committee April 22 approved two key pieces of legislation, including a bill to establish a state-run backstop power procurement program and another to order state energy officials to investigate recent or future natural gas price spikes. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed AB 56 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) on a 6-2 vote. […]

West Coast Utilities Coordinate on Big Truck Electrification

18 Apr

A study on electrifying the 1,350 mile route from Mexico to Canada for medium- and heavy-duty trucks is being launched by a coalition of nearly three dozen West Coast private and public utilities and organizations. The study by this West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, announced April 18, is to evaluate how, where and the […]

FERC Continues to Exclude GHG Impacts in Project Decisions

18 Apr

Two major liquefied natural gas facilities export projects in Texas and Louisiana were approved 3-1 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, although the decisions omit evaluations of their direct and cumulative greenhouse gas impacts. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who cast the decisive yes vote at the April 18 meeting, welcomed the projects and the decisions including […]

New PG&E Head to Reap $9M in Year One

16 Apr

The new chief executive officer of bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric will receive $9 million his first year on the job at the troubled company. According to PG&E’s April 16 Securities & Exchange Commission filing, the base salary of Bill Johnson, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, is $2.5 million. He also is to […]

PG&E Safety Gaps Highlighted

16 Apr

In spite of ongoing safety issues and problems at Pacific Gas & Electric, the company lacks a “comprehensive safety strategy,” the California Public Utilities Commission was told April 15. PG&E does not have “a coordinated safety strategy that takes a look at the whole,” said Angela Anderson, project manager for Northstar Consulting. The company has […]

Newsom Calls for Wildfire Liability Reform

12 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom April 12 called on lawmakers to pass a legislative reform package to deal with the growing threat of wildfires, calling measures adopted to date “inadequate.” “We all have a burden and responsibility to meet the costs,” said Newsom. “We’re all in this together.” In a long and at times rambling press conference, […]

Opinionated: Remaking the Grid Part 2

10 Apr

Q & A with Lorenzo Kristov The California Independent System Operator’s former principal of market design and infrastructure policy Editor’s Note: In a recent editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle, Lorenzo Kristov and Mark Ferron, former CAISO board member, advocated for an “open access” distribution system and indicated that local planning increasingly is “where the action […]

PG&E Proposes New CEO & Board

4 Apr

In response to significant pressure to overhaul its board after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric announced a new slate of directors April 3. It would put the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority, William Johnson, at the head.  As part of its board “refreshment process,” PG&E […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Bankruptcy Watch: Gov. Blasts PG&E Board Replacements

28 Mar

Gov. Gavin Newsom criticized Pacific Gas & Electric for its proposed new board members that include hedge fund managers and non-Californian executives. “With this move, PG&E would send a clear message that it is prioritizing quick profits for Wall Street over public safety and reliable and affordable energy service,” Newsom wrote in a March 28 […]

CAISO Addresses Backstop Procurement

28 Mar

In a marathon meeting March 27, the California Independent System Operator’s board approved several enhancements to the grid operator’s backstop power purchasing programs. They are employed to fill power supply gaps often in local areas. The grid operator also addressed the potential exercise of market power, particularly in the energy imbalance market. Before acting on […]

FERC Democrats Challenge Agency’s Scant Climate Analyses

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators March 21 criticized their agency’s shortcomings in considering upfront the greenhouse gas impacts of commission-approved projects. “We are creating litigation risks by putting our heads in the sand,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. She highlighted a March 20 federal D.C. District Court ruling that blocks oil and gas drilling […]

CPUC Forced to Correct Resource Adequacy Waiver Claims

19 Mar

During a third Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee hearing on the changing electricity industry landscape, the California Public Utilities Commission president was taken to task for incorrectly stating at previous hearings that 11 community aggregators were exempted from buying local reliability resources. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) wanted to know the correct number of […]

Opinionated: Charging With the Sun

19 Mar

By Severin Borenstein You aren’t getting “green electrons”, but charging at the right times still lowers GHG emissions. I spent a fascinating few days at the California Independent System Operator last month, following my appointment in January to the CAISO’s Board of Governors. The most exciting part was getting to visit the CAISO grid control […]

The Buzz

7 Mar

House Dems blast the Department of Energy’s foot dragging on efficiency standard implementation while Republicans point elsewhere. Both sides agree, however, that saving energy is a good thing. State lawmakers, regulators, other power providers and generators agree that ensuring the energy caterpillar becomes a butterfly requires that decarbonization of the energy sector be affordable and […]

DOE Slammed for Stalling Efficiency Rules

7 Mar

The Department of Energy’s delay in implementing energy efficiency standards for several products was heavily criticized by Democratic lawmakers, but largely defended by their Republican colleagues. That was in spite of the fact that both parties during a March 7 hearing by the House Energy & Commerce Committee insisted efficiency was a bipartisan issue. “DOE has […]

Assembly Panel Seeks Assurances of A Clean Affordable Future

7 Mar

An Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing centered on how to ensure California reliably and affordably decarbonizes it energy infrastructure at a time when the sector is going through a metamorphosis. “It is a difficult challenge and we have met the challenge to date,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of market quality […]

U.S. Senate Panel Focuses on Emissions & the Grid

5 Mar

Climate change’s impact on the nation’s electric system and the need for more clean and reliable energy were in the spotlight during a bipartisan committee hearing this week in Washington, D.C. “The electricity sector is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to climate change, but it is perhaps the most visible and […]

Blue Mountain Pushes for New PG&E Board

4 Mar

An activist New York hedge fund that owns about 2 percent of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s shares proposed a new PG&E board last Friday. Blue Mountain Master Fund’s pick for the new chair of its proposed 13-member board is California’s former State Treasurer, Phil Angelides. Other proposed PG&E director replacements include former utility executives, […]

Opinionated: Gadgets Are Increasingly Connected

4 Mar

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Every year hordes of people from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest shows in town. This year was no exception with 4,000 companies showing their latest gadgets to 150,000 delegates from 100 countries. For the past few years, all sorts of smart […]