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McIntyre’s Death Leaves FERC with Four Members

3 Jan

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Kevin McIntyre has died at age 57. McIntyre, who served as President Donald Trump’s FERC chair until October of 2018, had suffered from brain cancer. “As a lawyer, a commissioner, and as FERC’s chairman, he always had the utmost respect for the agency and its mission,” remarked Sen. Lisa Murkowski […]

Shorts

3 Jan

The Department of Water Resources’ first snow survey of the new year revealed the water content of the snow is 80 percent of average at the standard measuring location, Phillips Station. The Jan. 3 survey recorded 25.5 inches of snow depth and a snow water equivalent of 9 inches. The Sierra snowpack is 67 percent […]

Court Reviewing PG&E’s Federal Probation Status

3 Jan

Without passing judgment on Pacific Gas & Electric, the state attorney general laid out the legal requirements necessary to charge PG&E with misdemeanors or felonies if shabby operation and/or maintenance of its facilities sparked this year’s deadly Camp Fire in Butte County. The opinion by the Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a five-page legal primer […]

Big Bucks Hinge on Upcoming PG&E Exit Fees

2 Jan

How much Pacific Gas & Electric competitors will pay for the higher exit fee approved by state energy regulators last fall should be clearer at the end of next week. Big numbers are in play. Just how much of a hit there is on community choice aggregators’ customers this year from the higher Power Charge […]

Utility Urges Conservation as Cold Weather Grips So. CA

2 Jan

SoCal Gas customers are operating under a “dial it down” alert issued by the utility Dec. 28 that will remain in force through Jan. 2. The gas utility for the Los Angeles region and surrounding areas issued the alert in response to cold weather that set in over Southern California. The National Weather Service is […]

Undercurrents: AG Backs Oakland’s Rejection of Coal Terminal

18 Dec

The City of Oakland’s appeal to defend its ordinance prohibiting storage and shipment of coal to and from a proposed port expansion won the backing of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra this week. “The transportation of coal from the terminal would disproportionately hurt communities of color already burdened by pollution and its consequent health effects, […]

PG&E Seeks Hefty Revenue Increase

17 Dec

A day before Pacific Gas & Electric was charged with falsifying gas pipeline markings and associated records over a five-year period, it asked energy regulators to increase its authorized revenue by almost $2 billion, or about 23 percent, in its upcoming three-year rate case. In its Dec. 13 general rate case filing, the utility requested […]

Sempra Sells Off Solar Plants to Con Edison

17 Dec

Sempra Energy has sold its U.S. operating solar assets, solar and battery storage development projects, and one wind facility to New York-based Consolidated Edison for about $1.6 billion in cash. The deal, completed Dec. 13, covers facilities with a total capacity of 980 MW. California plants included in the sale are the Alpaugh, Corcoran, Great […]

Regulators Charge PG&E with Bogus Gas Pipeline Markings

17 Dec

Pacific Gas & Electric is in hot water again. A California Public Utilities Commission report found it both failed to properly mark its gas lines to prevent dangerous excavations and falsified its records. The fake records and inaccurate markings allegations cover the years 2012 to 2017. “Utility falsification of safety related records is a serious […]

Opinionated: Back to the Resource Adequacy Drawing Board

17 Dec

By Todd Edmister Last month, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a proposed decision in its resource adequacy proceeding that would strip community choice aggregators and energy service providers collectively of their authority to procure local capacity resources. It would give this resource adequacy procurement authority exclusively to investor-owned utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric […]

Climate Roundup: E-Bike Delivery & West VA Coal

17 Dec

California’s public transit systems will gradually move to using electric- and fuel-cell- powered buses by 2040 under a rule the California Air Resources Board adopted Dec. 14. The regulation will eliminate almost 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year by the time it’s fully implemented, according to Air Board data. Smog-forming nitrogen oxide […]

Shorts

17 Dec

As the year ends, CAISO is still reviewing plans to close AES’s Redondo Beach power plant in the Los Angeles Basin. The 1,342 MW gas-fired power plant along the coast uses ocean water for cooling and must quit doing so under a state marine protection policy. AES plans to close the plant in two years […]

The Buzz

13 Dec

Dear Readers: We will post news stories early next week before taking a holiday break through New Year’s Day beginning Dec. 20. Our 2019 news coverage and analysis will begin on Jan. 2. Wishing you happy and healthy holidays. This week, the California’s Air Resources Board adopts amendments to the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program, which […]

Cap & Trade Revisions Focus on Cost Control

13 Dec

California air regulators Dec. 13 adopted amendments to the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program designed to curb the cost of cutting emissions in the coming decade. They also fine tuned how emissions trading will work in the coming decade. The amendments will help “contain the costs” of cutting carbon emissions while “increasing the environmental benefits to […]

CPUC Restricts Power Shutoffs & Approves Affordable Clean Energy Pilots

13 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 13 unanimously approved a temporary framework that seeks to reduce the number of utility power and gas disconnections for unpaid energy bills. A vote on the order authored by Commissioner Martha Aceves Guzman had been put off last month because of disagreements over some of its provisions, including capping […]

CPUC Directs Shareholders Pay IOU Bonuses, Approves SDG&E Budgets

13 Dec

State energy regulators’ Dec. 13 signed off on a decision requiring that executive bonuses paid to private utility executives, which are in excess of $1 million, be paid by shareholders, not ratepayers. The change is required by the new wildfire liability legislation, SB 901, which was enacted in September. This new California Public Utilities Commission […]

CPUC Rulemakings Aim to Reduce Fire & Equipment Sabotage Risks

13 Dec

To keep active power lines from sparking or worsening wildfires, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Dec. 13 to launch a rulemaking to improve decision-making on when utility power lines should be shutoff in advance of potential blazes. “We must act,” said CPUC member Carla Peterman, who is leaving the commission. She added the […]

CAISO Sets Level Budget & Looks to New Appointees in 2019

13 Dec

The grid operator’s newly approved budget for the coming year sets a revenue requirement of $193.5 million. It is 2 percent lower than the adopted requirement for 2018. At its final meeting of the year held Dec. 13, the California Independent System Operator’s board of governors also outlined goals for the coming year, particularly to […]

JUICE: Flying a Jet Plane?

12 Dec

California may create a central power purchasing agency to fill gaps in the state’s electricity supply to ensure the grid remains reliable, and possibly to act as the provider of last resort. The state essentially did the same some 17 years ago with less than stellar results, though the circumstances were different. Out of the […]

Undercurrents: Morro Bay Eyes Ocean Wind Project Benefits

11 Dec

A project developer entered an agreement late  last month with the city of Morro Bay aimed at creating local benefits if a 650 MW offshore wind farm is eventually built about 30 miles off the coast of San Luis Obispo County. Castle Wind and the city struck the community benefits deal Nov. 29. It seeks […]