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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. […]

Undercurrents: Gas Prices to Remain Low

22 Apr

Natural gas will remain plentiful and reasonably priced in California through 2030, according to an analysis presented to the California Energy Commission April 22. Ample natural gas supplies from both Western Canada and the Permian Basin in Texas—which are connected to California by interstate pipelines—will keep prices lower in the Golden State than at Henry […]

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 […]

Assembly Committee Okays Energy Info Bills

11 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved several measures aimed at providing more public information on energy prices April 10. Bills approved by the panel included: AB 1799 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), to require the California Energy Commission to form a task force to delve into recent natural gas price volatility, which boosted the […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

Assembly Panel Okays Bills on Power Shutoff Rules & Unions

3 Apr

Legislation tweaking energy rules and policies, including setting deenergization protocols and prohibiting utilities from using ratepayer funds to deter workers from unionizing, passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 3. AB 868 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Placerville) requires that private and public utilities develop criteria specifying when and how they will stop […]

Alternative Energy Bills Go Forward

2 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved a small number of bills April 2, including ones to increase the savings of utility energy efficiency programs and expand fuels that can be used in qualifying biomass plants. The approved measures include SB 524 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Calabasas). It seeks to increase the energy savings […]

Coalition Fights Phase Down of Natural Gas

27 Mar

As California energy policymakers look to eliminate use of natural gas in buildings and phase out gas power plants, the natural gas industry signaled this week it won’t go down quietly. A recently formed coalition—which includes SoCal Gas, homebuilders, businesses, farmers, ministers, and others—on March 25 called on state agencies and leaders to “adopt balanced […]

Shorts

25 Mar

Updated March 28. State utility regulators this week turned down a bid by Pacific Gas & Electric to sell its Narrows Hydroelectric Project to the Yuba County Water Agency. The utility sought approval of the sale for $3.8 million through an advice letter. However, the California Public Utilities Commission decided that due to the complexity […]

Shorts

18 Mar

A Nevada Senator is proposing to increase the state’s renewable portfolio mandate to 50 percent by 2030. Sen. Chris Brooks’ SB 358 is in response to Silver State voters overwhelmingly supporting a 50 percent RPS in last November’s election. “Clean energy jobs are growing faster per capita in Nevada than anywhere else in the country,” […]

Undercurrents: Newsom Eyes New CPUC President

12 Mar

Updated March 14. Gov. Gavin Newsom is planning to shake up the California Public Utilities Commission, including appointing a new president of the commission, the Wall St. Journal reported March 11. A plan could be issued by the governor’s office in a matter of weeks, Newsom reportedly told legislators and analysts from S&P Global Ratings. […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

Shorts

6 Mar

SoCalGas announced it would replace 20 percent of its natural gas supply with renewable gas by 2030. “Our vision is to become the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to our customers,” said Bret Lane, SoCal Gas chief executive officer, March 6. Natural gas produced from food waste, […]

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 […]

Court Okays Aliso Canyon Settlement

26 Feb

A state court approved a $119.5 million agreement between the California Air Resources Board, SoCal Gas, and other parties requiring full mitigation of the massive methane leak that occurred in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. “This agreement will mitigate the methane leak itself, and will have a positive impact across […]

Opinionated: State Puts Buildings in Energy Policy Spotlight

25 Feb

By Pierre Delforge California took another pioneering step in tackling carbon emissions from millions of homes and commercial buildings across the state Feb. 20. The California Energy Commission’s latest policy report puts reducing the climate and air pollution from buildings front and center for the first time, representing a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities. It […]

EPIC Program Aims to Get Ahead of Epic Changes

20 Feb

Key focuses of the state program dispensing $162 million a year are advancing innovative clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and communities with high fire danger. Another top priority of the Electric Program Investment Charge is diversifying energy storage in California to help meet climate protection and renewable targets in a changing environment, said speakers […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved its 2018 Integrated Energy Policy Report Update, which gives priority to building emissions reductions. The vote cast at the Feb. 20 business meeting, is “a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities,” according to Pierre Del Forge with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the push to boost energy efficiency, electricity from […]

Gas Supply Crimps Stress Southern California

11 Feb

Cold weather in Southern California is continuing to stress natural gas supplies, resulting in gas withdrawals by SoCal Gas from its constrained Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The utility notified the California Public Utilities Commission that it had to withdraw gas from the field beginning at 11:22 p.m. on Feb. 10 as temperatures dipped […]

Shorts

5 Feb

Updated Feb. 6 Federal legislation to repeal the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles was introduced Feb. 6. It also would require that EV drivers pay into the Highway Trust Fund.  The “Fairness for Every Driver Act” was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works chair, and […]