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Building Electrification Gets Broad Support

9 Jul

Struggling Californians make up 40% of the population and suffer a disproportionate share of indoor pollution, principally from gas-fueled appliances. A new report, Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, offers a blueprint for financing strategies to drive the electrification of the homes of low-income people. Currently, home clean energy retrofits are principally reaped by Californians who […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

Less Demand and Cleaner Options Spell Lower 2019 Costs for CAISO

7 Jul

The California Independent System Operator saw a whopping 17% reduction in overall wholesale electricity market costs in 2019 compared to the year before, thanks to energy efficiency, the deployment of small renewables, more hydropower and less natural gas. Total energy costs last year were $8.8 billion, at an average $41 per megawatt-hour, compared to $10.8 […]

Court Slams FERC Roadblocks to Pipeline Permit Challenges

30 Jun

Federal energy regulators’ habit of postponing landowners’ challenges to permits for natural gas pipelines that run across their property was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals June 30. The issue before the court boiled down to the legitimacy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of so called “tolling orders,” which delay […]

California Mandates Electric Trucks

25 Jun

The California Air Resources Board voted nearly unanimously June 25 to require that at least 100,000 trucks on California roads, three quarter ton and heavier, be electric by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gases and diesel pollution. Five years later, the number is to grow to 300,000 zero emission trucks under the Advanced Clean Truck rule. […]

CA Gas Utilities Produce Cutting Edge Clean Biogas

23 Jun

SoCal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 22 a significant breakthrough in a new electrochemical technology that converts carbon dioxide in raw biogas to renewable natural gas that can be put into pipelines. It is a “critical improvement in the science of upgrading waste emissions to renewable gas,” according to the utilities. This […]

The Buzz

18 Jun

Landowners’ legal challenge to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s practice of allowing land to be seized for a pipeline before deciding whether to reconsider a granted permit forces FERC to ease its rehearing rules. However, the one dissenting commissioner says the new rule is a hollow victory for aggrieved property owners. Private and public utilities […]

FERC Gives Some Temporary Relief to Landowners Fighting Pipelines

18 Jun

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that landowners challenging property seizures for a pipeline shouldn’t see bulldozers on their land after a permit is granted for at least the next 30 days while the agency reconsiders the certification. But a key controversy remains; what happens after a project permit is granted, but while property owners […]

Humboldt Towns Protected Against Shutoffs, Locals Say the Change is Overdue

16 Jun

When power is deliberately shut off to avoid fires amid high wind in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 20 cities along the North Coast won’t have to worry. That is because PG&E reconfigured its 163 MW natural gas fired power plant in Humboldt County so it can disconnect from the grid and continue supplying the […]

Diesel and Gas Backup Generator Bills Advance

1 Jun

Two bills promoting the use of diesel and natural gas fueled backup generation during planned safety outages passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee May 27. SB 1099 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) relieves hospitals and other critical facilities that fire up diesel generators during power outages of any threat–real or perceived–that they will be fined […]

The Buzz

21 May

The California Public Utilities Commission vote on Pacific Gas & Electric’s massive reorganization plan gets waylaid by an improper communication. The CPUC’s proposed decision on the plan, now set for a May 28 vote, approves most but not all of the pending financing to get PG&E out from under massive wildfire claims. It does not […]

FERC Advances LNG Projects Amid Fall in Demand

21 May

Federal regulators May 21 declined to reexamine their approval of the permit for the controversial Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project in Oregon. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission also certified an LNG project on Alaska’s North Slope. The approvals come as global demand for the fossil fuel has fallen because of pandemic policies. Commissioner Rick […]

Summer Power Supplies Are Solid Unless it’s too Hot, CAISO Finds

18 May

Triple digit temperatures in late summer across the West could stress the power grid because of lower hydropower imports from the Pacific Northwest, a May 15 report by California’s grid operator concludes. The California Independent System Operator estimates that with average summer temperatures supplies would meet demand, estimated at 45,907 MW in a 1-in-2 scenario. […]

Juice: Brass Knuckles

12 May

Metal fighting devices placed on a person’s knuckles “concentrate a punch’s force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area,” increasing the harm to the intended target, according to Wikipedia. The Trump Administration has popularized the use of the functional equivalent of these thuggish fighting tools. They also appear back in fashion at […]

Shorts

4 May

A new report warns of the escalating health and environmental hazards of natural gas fueled stoves, particularly for the young and those in low income households. The lack of adequate indoor pollution standards continues to allow the release of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide pollution from these stoves. “With so many of us seeking shelter […]

Energy Commission Approves $35M in Clean Tech Grants

9 Apr

The California Energy Commission midweek approved millions of dollars in grants to promote cleaner food and beer production, and to advance offshore wind, renewable gas and safer natural gas infrastructure. While the pandemic remains underway and people are still forced to stay at home, the agency’s priorities are to accelerate clean energy grants and make […]

Rich Ferguson

6 Apr

It is with much sadness that we learned that Rick Ferguson, who wrote natural gas columns for this publication for several years, passed away suddenly earlier this year. “He was our spirit warrior,” said V. John White, the Center for Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology executive director. Rich was a cornerstone of CEERT. While retired, […]

News Roundup: CPUC Aims to Lower Utility Bills, Snowpack is Half of Average

2 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission is working to lower home utility bills that have surged since the issuance of shelter at home directives. The agency announced April 2 it would fast track the second annual climate credit, which comes from the state’s carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue. Residential electric use has increased 15-20% in recent weeks […]

Shorts

1 Apr

The East Bay Community Energy is directing $1.5 million toward community relief efforts in Alameda County, it announced April 2. EBCE’s CEO Nick Chaset told the management team to identify “opportunities in the current budget to repurpose as contributions for COVID-19 relief efforts.” The efforts will be tracked at: https://ebce.org/covid The Salt River Project and […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]