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Coalition Fights Back on Building Decarbonization

20 Aug

Opponents of the drive to electrify buildings and end the use of natural gas for space and water heating and cooking rallied at the state capitol Aug. 20. They called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to support what they called “affordable clean energy solutions” instead of driving toward “all-electric” buildings. “California is in the middle of […]

Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

Shorts

13 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric appointed a new utility chief executive officer and president. Andrew Vesey was selected to head the bankrupt utility, PG&E announced Aug. 13. Vesey was the managing director and chief executive officer of AGL Energy in Australia from 2015 to 2018. The prior 11 years, he served as AES Corp.’s chief executive […]

Dairy Biogas Project Begins Delivering RNG

8 Aug

Calgren late last month finished work on the largest dairy biogas operation in the nation and will begin supplying SoCal Gas with renewable natural gas to help fill its pipelines later this year. At its new facility in Pixley in Tulare County, Calgren began collecting and gasifying manure from four dairies and plans to expand […]

Undercurrents: Efficiency Funds Allowed for Building Decarbonization

5 Aug

California utility regulators last week opened the door for using $1 billion a year of energy efficiency program money to retrofit homes and buildings to shift from natural gas to electricity for space and water heating and other uses. “This means there is now a clear path to roll out new programs that include efficient […]

Inside the Beltway: Committees Advance Energy Bills

17 Jul

The full House Energy & Commerce Committee approved 10 energy-related bills July 17 aimed at advancing energy efficiency and energy sector employment and also making energy infrastructure more impervious to cyberattacks. “These bills tackle the climate crisis head-on by ensuring our homes, schools and buildings emit less carbon pollution, and by investing in our state […]

Berkeley Moves to Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

17 Jul

The Berkeley City Council the evening of July 16 voted to phase-out gas hookups for new homes built in the city beginning next year. The council will have to take a second vote on the amendment to its building code before the requirement becomes local law. Natural gas use in buildings, according to a memo […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Updated July 18. The California Energy Commission’s clean transportation program to date has provided $830 million in funding, with most of the money targeted at advancing the use of electric vehicles, according to a summary presented at a commission meeting on the program’s accomplishments July 18. In the clean vehicle infrastructure area, CEC has provided […]

Energy Conservation Campaign in LA to Continue Under CPUC Order

11 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission authorized SoCal Gas to spend $5 million this summer on a media campaign to urge residents and businesses in the Los Angeles area to conserve energy in light of ongoing constraints on natural gas supplies in the region. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said the summer campaign needs to be continued because […]

Shorts

9 Jul

Updated July 11. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources committee held a celebratory hearing July 11 on growing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. “We are now leading the world in natural gas production, and hopefully soon, we will also lead in exports,” said panel chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (D-AK. “More U.S. LNG export facilities […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

CPUC to Investigate SoCal Gas Safety

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission June 27 launched an investigation into the safety cultures of SoCal Gas and its parent company following large and small gas pipeline explosions and leaks since 2015. “There are significant questions about SoCal Gas’ safety practices and priorities,” said Commissioner Liane Randolph. She pointed to a report released mid-May on […]

House Democrats Push Pipeline Safety

19 Jun

A House panel is aiming to place new requirements on oil and gas pipeline operators and toughen federal enforcement standards as part of an upcoming reauthorization of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for fiscal years 2020-23. Toward that end, the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee held a hearing on two bills circulated […]

Undercurrents: Trump Pulls Plug on Clean Power Plan

19 Jun

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed a final rule on June 19 to repeal the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. “Americans want reliable energy that they can afford,” said Wheeler at a news conference to announce the action. It will take effect as soon as the rule is published in the Federal Register. […]

Juice: The Twilight of Fossil Fuel

17 Jun

It’s increasingly apparent that state energy officials are nearing a consensus that natural gas usage in California must be wound down to achieve both climate change and health-based air quality goals. Earlier this month, California Energy Commission officials discussed how to plan for closing down, or systematically shrinking the state’s natural gas distribution system as […]

Shorts

17 Jun

Updated June 20. The California Public Utilities Commission June 20 discussed its progress in modeling how Southern California might be able to meet its energy needs without the SoCal Gas Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. Commission staff noted that multi-state gas demand models will be needed to fully answer the question, since California imports […]

Shorts

13 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee backed extending the time renewable gas projects can tap into state incentives covering 50 percent of their interconnection costs this week. On a 14-0 vote, the panel approved SB 547 by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego). The bill extends by five years to Dec, 31, 2026, the date by […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

All-Electric Buildings Raise Rates

6 Jun

As California pursues a strategy to phase out the use of natural gas for heating space and water, cooking and other uses it will have to develop a transition plan to prevent remaining gas customers from rate shock. That’s according to a new study conducted for the California Energy Commission. “This has big implications for […]