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CPUC Aims for More Social Equity

5 Nov

The California Public Utilities Commission advanced its Draft Environmental & Social Justice Plan, which seeks to serve as a path for incorporating social equity in its programs and policies. The plan, released Nov. 2, outlines the commission’s “vision” for making sure that disadvantaged communities up and down the state have “meaningful participation” in commission proceedings […]

JUICE: Like Water for Electricity

30 Oct

California regulators and friends continue to claim that the surge in community energy and shrinkage of private utility customers in California creates conditions similar to those that led to the energy crisis after the 1996 deregulation law. “We will be right back where we were 22 years ago if we don’t get it right,” said […]

NRDC Holds Out Climate Hope

24 Oct

In spite of the dire predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of climate disaster if the world fails to curb global emissions within 12 years, progress made to date is cause for optimism, according to a NRDC report released  Oct. 24. The growth on the clean energy front offers “a serious ray of […]

CPUC Weighs Expanding its Reach Over Non-Utilities

24 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 23 mulls over the implications of growing customer choice in the retail electricity market in a document that hints at actions to regulate community choice aggregators and direct access providers like today’s private utilities. Likely actions and recommendations—from levying new fees on electricity customers that would go to utilities, […]

Undercurrents: Chatterjee Named New FERC Chair

23 Oct

Updated Oct. 25. Kevin McIntyre is unable to continue as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission because of serious health issues related to brain cancer.  He announced Oct. 25 that  he was stepping down. Commissioner Neil Chatterjee will replace him as chair. “I thank Chairman McIntyre for his leadership at the agency, and pray […]

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 […]