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Senate Energy Panel Okays Outage Penalties, Rejects Big Hydro as Renewable

15 Jan

Legislation that would impose fines on utilities for unreasonable power outages and require them to compensate businesses and other customers harmed by blackouts passed the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee Jan. 15. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) authored SB 378 because private utility “financial incentives err on the side of blackouts.” Weiner accused utilities […]

Assembly Bills Focus on Wildfire Impacts and Resource Adequacy

14 Jan

Protecting utilities against wildfire liability and customers against the loss of power during safety shutoffs remain top legislative priorities. AB 235 by Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Yucca Valley) and two other legislators would allow PG&E to issue bonds to pay for wildfire victim recovery claims after Jan. 2019. This bill, which was carried over from the […]

Back in the Spotlight: Power Outages and Supplies, and the Definition of Renewable

14 Jan

Before lawmakers this session is Senate legislation to make buildings more fire resistant in high risk areas, protect customers during utility power shutoffs, and rework the renewables mandate. A few of these bills will be heard Jan. 15 in the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communication Committee’s first hearing of the year. Three bills seek to […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends, Part 2

13 Jan

This coming year will be full of action in half a dozen energy areas. There will be bigger wrestling matches between California and the Trump Administration over climate protection, between natural gas advocates and opponents, and between community choice aggregation and the private utilities. The three other key issues of 2020: energy storage, electrification of […]

Shorts

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 16 The Department of Energy Jan. 16 approved adding steps to a rule setting new energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, home furnaces, commercial air conditioners, industrial motors and other equipment. DOE “designed its new process rule to make it slower and harder to establish energy-saving efficiency standards,” Andrew deLaski, executive director of […]

State Budget to Dedicate $2B to Climate Protection

13 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 state spending plan released Jan. 10 would spend $1.7 billion to reduce the impacts of climate change. The proposal includes investments in low carbon emission projects, wildfire mitigation, environmental equity, and alternative energy jobs in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. “The state’s goals are clear. Californians must have […]

The Buzz

9 Jan

The start of the New Year brings bold federal and state clean energy and equity measures. It also brings closer a looming deadline for Pacific Gas & Electric. There is a huge push to get PG&E out of bankruptcy by the end of June. Meeting that deadline will allow it to access the multi-billion dollar […]

PG&E Heads for Bankruptcy Door

9 Jan

An end of June deadline looms for Pacific Gas & Electric as it strives to exit bankruptcy court in time to tap into a legislatively created $21 billion wildfire fund. Bets are that PG&E will make the deadline. AB 1054, which created a wildfire liability reserve account funded by private utility shareholders and ratepayers, mandates […]

House Bill Seeks 100% Carbon Free Economy

8 Jan

House Energy & Commerce Committee members Jan. 8 unveiled an ambitious climate protection legislative framework to achieve a 100% clean economy in the U.S. in 30 years. The bill seeks to transform the American economy by 2050, said Energy Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D-NJ). It is “an enormous challenge,” he noted, but one that is […]

CA New Green Deal Pitched

7 Jan

California lawmakers unveiled a state Green New Deal Jan. 6. “Just like with the original New Deal by FDR in 1932 that lifted America out of the Great Depression, we too must now harness all of our people power, political capital and courage to meet today’s greatest challenge—the clear and present danger of climate change,” […]

Beyond Lithium Ion Storage

7 Jan

The California Energy Commission seeks to ramp up emerging storage technologies, expanding the non-lithium ion energy storage field. It is currently offering $9 million in competitive grants for technologies other than lithium ion batteries. The Commission is already evaluating eight to ten non-lithium ion storage technologies and hopes to see new ones emerge from its […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends

7 Jan

Top ticket energy issues in the Golden State this coming year include energy storage, transportation electrification and microgrids. Other key matters are the growing roles of community energy and natural gas bans. The rise in renewable energy and decarbonization efforts in California are the key drivers behind these market transformations. Simultaneously, these efforts to green […]

Undercurrents

6 Jan

The snow depth and water content of the state’s snowpack is a bit below average, the Department of Water Resources reported Jan. 2. The average snow water equivalent at 130 stations across the state was 90 percent of the average for early January. The snowpack at Phillips Station in South Lake Tahoe was at 97 […]

Grid Operator’s So CA Natural Gas Curbs Win Approval

6 Jan

Federal energy regulators made permanent natural gas constraints the California Independent System Operator imposed temporarily on Southern California power plants. This is a “just and reasonable approach” to “ensure CAISO continues to have the tools necessary to address risks associated with the potential impacts of the continued limited operability of Aliso Canyon on the reliability […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

The Buzz

12 Dec

Zero emissions trucks, both electric and fuel cell models, will be coming to California in large numbers under a rule the California Air Resources Board debuts this week. Utility regulators allege SoCal Gas committed hundreds of safety violations at its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field as the utility attempts to quash a subpoena in […]

CARB Rolls Out Zero Emissions Truck Proposal

12 Dec

The California Air Resource Board Dec. 12 held an initial hearing on draft standards to require truck makers to begin selling electric- and fuel cell-powered “zero emissions” trucks in the state beginning in 2024. “This is the first such effort in the world,” said Air Board Chair Mary Nichols. The aim is to cut emissions […]

CPUC Alleges Hundreds of Violations in Aliso Canyon Investigation

11 Dec

California utility regulators late last week detailed 335 alleged violations of health and safety standards by SoCal Gas that led up to the massive well blowout and methane leak in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field near Los Angeles. The alleged violations found by the California Public Utilities Commission dated back […]

Shorts

11 Dec

San Bernardino’s County Board of Supervisors Dec. 10 turned down a bid to derail a 650 MW solar power project in Daggett. The 650 MW solar plant, which is being developed by Clearway Energy, will cover 3,500 acres of high desert land and is to include 450 MW of battery storage.  The Newberry Community Services […]

LADWP Plans to Run Gas Plant on Renewable Hydrogen

10 Dec

Controversy over a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power decision to replace a 1,800 MW coal-fired power plant in Utah with a smaller natural-gas-fired unit may result in an environmentally friendly overhaul.  The muni is considering running the planned combined cycle generating facility with renewable hydrogen. Under a plan discussed by the muni Dec. […]