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Shorts

29 Sep

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions produced by the electricity sector dropped 2.8%, or by 150 million metric tons, last year compared with 2018. They went from 5,281 MMmt in 2018 to 5,130 MMmt in 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated Sept. 30. “Changes in the electricity fuel mix were the most important factors, with coal-related […]

PG&E Shuts off Power in 22 Counties, SDG&E & SCE Customers Lose Power

8 Sep

High temperatures and fires over the Labor Day weekend put the grid to the test. While the California Independent System Operator managed to keep supply and demand in balance Sept. 5-7, tens of thousands of customers of the three investor-owned utilities lost power or had it shut off because of wildfires during and after the […]

The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

The Bill for Energy Shifts from the Office to Home

4 Aug

The increased hours people are spending at home have driven up residential power demand in California, and with it, utility bills. Late summer with its higher temperatures only makes the situation worse. The highest increase in home energy use reported among the major private and public utilities was 15%, in the southern part of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

West Coast Utilities Propose Truck Charging Network

17 Jun

A coalition of utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to advance the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by installing public electric charging stations along a 1,300 mile stretch of Interstate 5.   The plan released June 17 proposes installing 27 charging stations, with up to 10 ports each, for medium-duty […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

Outcry over Bill to Revive Stalled Pumped Storage Project

30 Apr

Among a reduced number of pending energy bills is a controversial measure to boost the prospects of a large pumped storage project near Joshua Tree National Park. AB 2255 by Assemblymember Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was revised in March, shifting the focus from advancing long duration storage to benefiting Next Era’s 1,300 MW Eagle Crest hydropower […]

Spotlight on Ratepayer Subsidies of Utility EV Charging Costs

22 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is examining two thorny questions central to the expansion of electric vehicles: How long should investor-owned utility ratepayers keep paying for the installation of new charging stations? And how long should the private utilities dominate the installations? The questions were the focus of an April 20 workshop. Intertwined with the […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Utility Wildfire Plans Raise Cost and Safety Issues

5 Mar

The cost to ratepayers and how soon fire protections will be in place are key concerns for lawmakers reviewing new billion dollar-plus wildfire plans submitted by the private utilities. The three utility 2020 prevention plans will raise rates, but there’s currently no way to figure out how much, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) said during a […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved a Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s community solar program. The Feb. 20 approval was based on the Energy Commission’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which allow community solar in place of PV roof tops on new single family homes. “We expected that the marketplace and stakeholders would find solutions appropriate for […]

44 MW Solar-Storage Project Gets Closer to Finish Line

17 Feb

Aurora Solar is inching closer to building a 44 MW solar array with storage in the Antelope Valley between Twin Lakes and Rosamond. The project is slated for 383 acres of land in Kern County made up of former grazing and agriculture lands, Joshua Tree and Juniper woodland habitat. Of the 383 acres, 233 are […]

New Bill Allows Public Seizure of PG&E

4 Feb

While the federal court prepares to approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan for exiting bankruptcy, a new public entity would have the power to take over the company under legislation introduced Feb. 3. SB 917 by Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) would establish the Northern California Energy Utility District, empowering it to take by eminent […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends, Part 2

13 Jan

This coming year will be full of action in half a dozen energy areas. There will be bigger wrestling matches between California and the Trump Administration over climate protection, between natural gas advocates and opponents, and between community choice aggregation and the private utilities. The three other key issues of 2020: energy storage, electrification of […]

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