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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. […]

Resolution of Spent Fuel Storage Remains Illusive

27 Jun

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee June 27 attempted again to break the stalemate on moving growing levels of spent nuclear waste stored onsite at power plants and elsewhere into one or more licensed long-term waste repositories. “Our nation’s nuclear industry is critically important, but also faces a number of challenges, and one […]

The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

House Debates Nuclear Waste Bills

13 Jun

A House Energy & Commerce subcommittee June 13 debated how to restart the stalled effort to remove and consolidate stranded high-level radioactive waste kept onsite at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, Rancho Seco in Sacramento and at 119 other sites across the nation. Three federal bills aiming to consolidate waste from nuclear plants were […]

Inside The Beltway: Sparks Fly Over DOE Budget

9 May

Energy Secretary Rick Perry covered the water front of U.S. energy issues May 9 during a House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2020. Perry told lawmakers that the department’s $31.7 billion request for the coming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would help sustain “recent historic economic […]

Shorts

2 Apr

Snow depth and snow water equivalent is 200 percent of average, or 51 inches, at the Department of Water Resources’ Sierra measuring station. DWR’s final snow survey for the season conducted April 2, also revealed that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 162 percent of average. “With full reservoirs and a dense snowpack, this year is practically […]

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 […]

NRC Raises Doubts About SONGS Fuel Canister

22 Oct

Federal nuclear power safety regulators criticized Southern California Edison in an Oct. 19 inspection report for almost dropping a canister loaded with nuclear fuel on Aug. 6 at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Regulators called the incident a “near miss.” The canister loaded with radioactive fuel got hung up on a gusset when it […]

Undercurrents

22 May

A modeling tool aimed at helping optimize where to install electric vehicle chargers, the type—level one or two charges—and how many was the focus of a May 22 workshop at the California Energy Commission. The developing model’s focus is to understand the EV market to increase the efficient use of public investments in chargers. “We […]

The Buzz

19 Apr

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agrees to rules increasing transparency on above market payments grid operators make to uneconomic resources, and getting interconnection agreements in gear. They also open the door to input on their problematic natural gas pipeline permitting process. In addition to shining a light on “uplift” payments for resources that can’t recover […]

The Buzz

23 Mar

The grid operator’s board adopted big time reforms to increase gas power plant generator revenues and curb speculation in the transmission congestion market. Pacific Gas & Electric was chastised for balking at complying with the CPUC’s order to sign contracts for biomass projects to help reduce the huge number of dead trees. Biomass got  a […]

Undercurrents

12 Feb

President Trump’s proposed $30.6 billion 2019 budget for the Department of Energy would cut annual funding for energy-related programs at the agency by $1.9 billion to $2.5 billion. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) said the proposal “decimates our nation’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, which will increase energy costs for consumers, undermine clean […]

The Buzz

29 Sep

A future as predictable as a Ouiji board was a central theme at the Independent Energy Producer’s annual meeting this week amid mounting uncertainty from the changing role of utilities and the scarcity of contracts for generators. Speaking of contracts, and lack of them, utility regulators this week nixed a deal between Southern California Edison […]

Undercurrents: Long-term Nuclear Waste Disposal Remains Stalled

26 Sep

State and local representatives pressed for federal solutions to the problem of mounting radioactive waste at nuclear power plants, including the closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, during a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, & Environment Sept. 26. David Victor, chair of the SONGS Community Engagement Panel, told the […]

The Buzz

31 Aug

A week that began with record heat and a near record demand for power ends even hotter with a forecast of a new all-time record peak demand for electricity in California. The grid operator calls for conservation. PG&E calls for flashlights. Decentralized solar energy coupled with storage and smart controls can lower the cost of […]

Undercurrents: SONGS Onsite Waste Suit Settled

30 Aug

A settlement of the lawsuit over expanding onsite storage of spent nuclear fuel at the San Onofre Nuclear Station was reached Aug. 28. “A cooperative effort between the public, independent experts and Southern California Edison has begun and will continue until the nuclear waste is removed from San Diego,” said attorney Michael Aguirre, representing plaintiff […]

Juice: While We Were Gone

21 Aug

No big breaking energy news occurred during our brief summer hiatus, but there were notable energy-related developments, including the release of cost estimates of using alternative clean energy resources in place of the Puente gas power project, a restart of the controversial Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump license proceeding, and a push by Southern […]

Undercurrents: Nuclear Waste Gains Focus

1 Jun

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reactivated the Yucca Mountain radioactive dump licensing process May 31, angering many. “Restarting the licensing process for Yucca Mountain would reach new heights of scientific irresponsibility,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). He pointed to the two fault lines at the Nevada site, noting hundreds of nearby earthquakes over the last […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Resorts to Ex Parte Tactics on Diablo Decommissioning Decision

10 May

Pacific Gas & Electric will meet next Monday, May 15, in commissioners’ offices at the California Public Utilities Commission to lobby against an administrative law judge’s proposed decision to grant it $2.3 billion of ratepayer money for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The decision cut the utility’s original request by $1.5 billion. Matt […]

Controversial Yucca Mountain Bill Gets Another Airing

26 Apr

During a hearing on federal legislation seeking to restart the effort to create a permanent radioactive waste dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, troubling issues were raised. During an April 26 House Energy & Commerce Environment Subcommittee hearing, concerns were aired over provisions sidelining state rights and tying the fate of a long-term repository with an […]