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Undercurrents: No Rush in Sacramento on PG&E

16 Jan

Keeping the lights on and making sure wildfire victims and utility ratepayers are treated fairly as the state’s largest utility enters bankruptcy are the stated priorities of Gov. Gavin Newsom and key state legislators. “Everyone’s immediate focus is, rightfully, on ensuring Californians have continuous, reliable and safe electric and gas service,” Newsom stated early this […]

Senate Panel Weighs Energy Measures in Lame Duck Session

29 Nov

A U.S. Senate subcommittee held a Nov. 29 hearing on 14 energy-related bills, spanning a wide gamut of topics, from promoting employment of veterans by the energy industry to bolstering research by the Department of Energy on energy storage and distributed energy resources. The hearing came during the lame duck session when federal lawmakers’ key […]

McNamee on Senate Hot Seat over Coal & Nuke Bailout Plan

15 Nov

President Donald Trump’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominee from Texas faced heavy criticism for not agreeing to recuse himself from decisions related to potentially subsidizing struggling coal and nuclear plants if he is confirmed for a commission seat. As the Department of Energy Policy Office Director, Bernard McNamee worked closely with Energy Secretary Rick Perry […]

Juice: California Gets It Right on Nuclear Power

13 Nov

“An expensive enticing mirage” or “an imperative that cannot be ignored?” That’s the multi-billion question facing the power industry and energy policymakers as to whether nuclear power should be left to wither or maintained as an emissions-free bridge to a decarbonized future. That question stirred debate last week following a report by the Union of […]

New Laws Fully Fund Diablo Canyon Closure & Lift Direct Access Cap

20 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown Sept. 19 signed a bill to restore funds the California Public Utilities Commission cut from a closure cost settlement agreement for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County. The next day he signed another measure to expand direct access to power supplies by businesses. SB 1090 will backfill […]

Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

Advanced Nuclear Reactors Gain Bipartisan Steam

13 Sep

The allure of developing advanced nuclear power technologies not vulnerable to reactor meltdowns gained ground in the U.S. Senate this week. Bipartisan legislation was introduced to direct the Department of Energy to build a fast neutron-capable research reactor. The bipartisan bill, S. 3422, is sponsored by nine senators, including Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Dick Durbin (D-IL), […]

Undercurrents: Exit Fee Proposal Bashed by Mayors

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. The mayors of major Bay Area cities Sept. 3 protested a proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission released last month that would raise exits fees for community choice aggregators. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the tentative decision by Commissioner Carla […]

Shorts

29 Aug

Updated Aug. 30. Legislation requiring super-polluting hydrofluorocarbons to be replaced with less climate harmful coolants in new refrigerators, air conditioners, and other products, was sent to the governor’s desk Aug. 30.  The California Legislature approved Sen. Ricardo Lara’s (D-Bell Gardens) SB 1013, which is known as the California Cooling Act. “This bill will curb super-polluting […]

New EV Charger Law, Diablo Funding Bill Goes to Gov’s Desk

21 Aug

Legislation to backfill funding for the community that’s home to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant after it closes in 2025 has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign into law. The measure also restores funds for employees who will lose their jobs when the plant closes. SB 1090 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-San […]

Undercurrents: Dems Slam FERC Chair for Pushing Price Supports

21 Aug

Updated Aug. 22 The head federal energy regulator was blasted for allowing his top staffer to state during a nuclear energy conference that his agency was working with the Trump Administration to ensure nuclear and coal power is subsidized under the controversial “fuel resiliency” theory. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Natural Resources Committee ranking member, and […]

Major Energy Bills Stall in Sacramento

9 Aug

Legislation that would make major changes to the state’s electricity industry failed to advance this week as lawmakers began to count down the remaining days in this year’s legislative session. One bill stalled on the Assembly floor and two were delayed in legislative appropriations committees where they face an Aug. 17 deadline for approval or […]

Shorts

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission published the final version of its paper on customer choice for electricity Aug. 7, but it makes no specific policy recommendations. The  final paper proposes scheduling the development of  a separate action plan by this fall that may outline recommendations to deal with the changes sweeping the state’s power industry. […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

The Buzz

28 Jun

The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs. A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating […]

Proposal Cuts Ratepayer Tab for San Onfore’s Closure

28 Jun

A California Public Utilities Commission law judge blessed a settlement reached earlier this year that will limit what ratepayers have to pay for Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generation Station closure costs. The settlement, approved late last week, would undo an earlier agreement approved by the commission in 2014 that would have stuck ratepayers […]

Bill Allowing Unlimited Direct Access Advances

28 Jun

Legislation lifting the cap on the ability of large businesses and industries to be served by non-utility energy service providers passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 27 despite significant opposition, including from the panel chair. SB 237 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), which would remove limits on direct access, was approved […]

No Speed Up of LADWP Study of 100% Renewables

19 Jun

A Los Angeles City Council committee delayed acting on a motion to require the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to advance its schedule for determining if it can achieve 100 percent renewable energy. Including the study as part of the current integrated resource plan, argued Alexandra Nagy, Food & Water Watch campaigner, would […]

Climate Roundup: Carbon Auction Revenue Hits $3B

13 Jun

California raised record revenue through the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program in fiscal year 2017-18, according to a California Air Resources Board report. Total revenue from all four of the quarterly auctions this fiscal year equaled more than $2.9 billion. That’s up from $891 million in fiscal year 2016-17 and from $1.8 billion in fiscal year […]

The Buzz

31 May

More than $1 billion in electric truck and car charging funding gets the green light. The California Public Utilities Commission approves the investor-owned power utilities spending $738 million of ratepayer money on EV charging infrastructure, particularly for electric truck and bus chargers. That authorization follows California air quality regulators directing $423 million to subsidize the […]