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The Buzz

3 Dec

Two days after the Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 goes back online over the Thanksgiving weekend, it shuts down. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know what caused the coolant in the stator to leak, who is on the hook for the […]

Four More NoCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

Shorts

24 Nov

SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric announced Nov. 23 that they were launching a demonstration project that would blend green hydrogen with natural gas. The utilities said the move was part of their strategy to lower the carbon content of their fuel. “The vision is to leverage surplus renewable electricity generated in the middle […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

San Francisco, San Jose Ban Gas in New Buildings

12 Nov

Natural gas use in new homes and commercial buildings will be banned in the City of San Francisco starting next June. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on a preliminary vote this week, the prohibition will be formally approved Nov. 17. Last fall, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to require all new […]

FERC Chair is Replaced

6 Nov

In a surprise move the evening of Nov. 5, President Trump replaced Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee with James Danly, the newest commissioner. Danly became the third commissioner in March. Chatterjee, after congratulating his fellow Republican Commissioner, noted his own tenure as chair was marked by the global pandemic. But he also highlighted […]

Feinstein and Barragan Take Aim at SoCal Gas for Astroturfing

29 Oct

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) are demanding answers from Southern California Gas about its ongoing attempts to undermine California policy aimed at phasing out natural gas use. They specifically cite the company’s attacks against construction electrification ordinances and truck electrification. In an Oct. 29 letter to the head of the gas […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

Fact Checking Trump’s and Biden’s Energy Transition Plans

26 Oct

In the presidential candidates’ final debate, President Trump said Vice President Biden’s energy plan could cost tens of millions of jobs. Wind is “extremely expensive” and solar “doesn’t quite have it yet,” he added. Trump avoided answering a question about the health impacts of polluting industries. There is “a moral obligation” to address the climate […]

“Super” CCA Collaboration for 500 MW of Long Duration Storage

19 Oct

Eight community choice aggregators are forming a procurement agency to jointly invest in much needed but neglected long duration energy storage. Leaders of the new Joint Powers Agency will issue a groundbreaking solicitation from their “super JPA“ that will pool the eight members’ resources and bid for up to 500 MW of long duration energy […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

Lawmakers Told Grid Imbalances Can Be Solved by Next Summer

13 Oct

The California Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Vice Chair Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) castigated the state’s three energy agencies at a Monday hearing, saying their joint report on rolling outages in August was essentially finger pointing and excuses. The heads of those agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator and California Energy Commission, continued to […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

Failure to Grasp Climate and Grid Changes Led to Outages

7 Oct

Utilities underestimated the energy they would need. Forecasts by state agencies were out of date. The heat was extreme. Natural gas and renewable resources were offline, and imports were constrained. All five of these are to blame for California’s mid-August blackouts, according to the first formal investigation into its cause. The preliminary assessment by the […]

News Roundup: PG&E Seeks $2B more for Past Fire Costs

1 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to charge ratepayers another $2 billion for costs of the 2017 wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. It also wants approval to sell its century-old headquarters in San Francisco. The utility seeks “$1.18 billion in expense and $801 million in capital expenditures, which […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

News Roundup: SCE Reaches $2B Deal with Fire Insurers

25 Sep

Southern California Edison agreed to a nearly $2 billion settlement to cover all claims by insurance companies for payouts they made to businesses and homeowners harmed by the utility-sparked 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito mudslides. The agreement announced Sept. 23 pays $1.6 billion to insurance firms for third party fire claims […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

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