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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 […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends

7 Jan

Top ticket energy issues in the Golden State this coming year include energy storage, transportation electrification and microgrids. Other key matters are the growing roles of community energy and natural gas bans. The rise in renewable energy and decarbonization efforts in California are the key drivers behind these market transformations. Simultaneously, these efforts to green […]

Pot Farms Burn the Midnight Oil, CEC Finds

2 Dec

Cannabis cultivation is and will continue to drive up electricity consumption in California. It is expected to add 1,600 GWh of new load over the next decade, according to the California Energy Commission. Demand from pot growth, largely energy-intensive indoor cultivation, is estimated to increase energy use in Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California […]

CEC Okays San Francisco & Modesto Resource Plans

14 Oct

The California Energy Commission Oct. 14 signed off on the integrated resources plans for the San Francisco Public Utility Commission’s Hetch Hetchy power system, as well as for the Modesto Irrigation District. “Each is consistent with the requirements of SB 350,” Paul Deaver, CEC program manager, told commissioners at this week’s business meeting. The San […]

PG&E Folds New Deal into its Reorganization Plan

23 Sep

Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 23 finalized a $14 billion settlement that includes the $11 billion agreement reached last week with insurance firms for damage claims from the PG&E equipment-sparked 2017 Northern California wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. The final $14 billion agreement also includes a $1 billion deal reached with 18 local public entities […]

CEC Eyes Enforcement Options for Munis

12 Sep

Publicly owned electric utilities in California beginning in 2021 will face a revised renewable portfolio standard enforcement policy being developed by the California Energy Commission. The CEC is aiming to make sure that public power agencies have enough renewable energy supplies under contract running at least 10 years. The planned rulemaking will aim to enforce […]

PG&E Pitches $18B Reorganization Scheme

11 Sep

In order to exit bankruptcy court, Pacific Gas & Electric Sept. 9 proposed a $17.9 billion reorganization plan, which would limit wildfire claim payouts. The reorganization plan includes up to $8.4 billion for wildfire victims. Another $8.5 billion is included for insurance company claims. There’s also $1 billion for claims from cities and other public […]

Setting a Single Metric for Energy Savings & Decarbonization

28 Aug

Pressure is mounting for energy policy makers to meld building decarbonization and energy efficiency programs and funding to ensure California reaches a zero carbon energy sector by 2045. Part and parcel of that considerable challenge for the California Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission is whether to substitute a single emissions reduction metric in place […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

JUICE: Clean Car & Air Chaos

25 Jun

If President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to yank California’s authority to enact automotive emissions and fuel efficiency standards that are tighter than federal requirements, the work of the Golden State and utilities here to promote electric vehicles and develop charging infrastructure will be jeopardized. Not only will California’s climate change goals be […]

Fog City Explores Take Over of PG&E Wires

14 May

If San Francisco replaced bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric’s power delivery services and assets with its public utility, the city could reap considerable benefits. That is according to an explorative study by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff released May 13. “While any sort of acquisition of PG&E property would be a lengthy process, […]