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Shorts

6 Mar

SoCalGas announced it would replace 20 percent of its natural gas supply with renewable gas by 2030. “Our vision is to become the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to our customers,” said Bret Lane, SoCal Gas chief executive officer, March 6. Natural gas produced from food waste, […]

Senate Panel Queries PG&E Bankruptcy Impacts

5 Mar

The implications of Pacific Gas & Electric’s second bankruptcy filing this century, including a probable rejection of some or all of its long-term power contracts and the role of the legislature will play, were weighed by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 5. “PG&E encompasses the largest geographical area [of the private utilities] […]

San Bernardino County Restricts Renewable Projects

5 Mar

The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Feb. 28 acted to curb construction of new utility-scale renewable energy projects on about 1 million acres of desert land within county areas with community plans or zoned as rural living districts. Community-scale projects intended to serve local communities still would be allowed under the policy. The board […]

U.S. Senate Panel Focuses on Emissions & the Grid

5 Mar

Climate change’s impact on the nation’s electric system and the need for more clean and reliable energy were in the spotlight during a bipartisan committee hearing this week in Washington, D.C. “The electricity sector is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to climate change, but it is perhaps the most visible and […]

Lawmakers Pitch CA New Green Energy Deal, Seek $100 B

4 Mar

A quintet of California Democratic legislators grabbed the climate change bull by the horns, declaring a climate emergency March 4. Senators Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) and Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), along with three Assemblymembers, announced they plan to introduce this week the state equivalent of the New Green Deal via a joint resolution to tackle the […]

Blue Mountain Pushes for New PG&E Board

4 Mar

An activist New York hedge fund that owns about 2 percent of Pacific Gas & Electric Corp’s shares proposed a new PG&E board last Friday. Blue Mountain Master Fund’s pick for the new chair of its proposed 13-member board is California’s former State Treasurer, Phil Angelides. Other proposed PG&E director replacements include former utility executives, […]

Opinionated: Gadgets Are Increasingly Connected

4 Mar

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Every year hordes of people from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the biggest shows in town. This year was no exception with 4,000 companies showing their latest gadgets to 150,000 delegates from 100 countries. For the past few years, all sorts of smart […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

California’s investor-owned utilities, with the exception of Sempra Energy’s utilities, show big losses in 2018 due to billions of dollars of wildfire liabilities. In the state Assembly, lawmakers introduce an avalanche of bills, including two measures to get utilities to pay for new state-run wildfire insurance funds. Meanwhile, state Senators introduce a solar rights bill […]

Losses for Two Utilities Mount Due to Wildfire Liabilities

28 Feb

California’s investor-owned utilities and their parents, with the exception of Sempra Energy, got clobbered in 2018 by wildfire liabilities. Two of the utilities together had total losses of almost $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Moreover, the financial reports showed that more losses may lie ahead. Edison International: It lost $1.4 billion, or […]

Bills Would Create Utility-Funded Wildfire Loss Funds

28 Feb

Bills introduced in the Assembly last week would set up new state insurance funds. One measure seeks to get utilities to pay into a wildfire victims’ compensation fund and the other to require utilities to pay into a fund that would insure them against excess wildfire-related costs. AB 740 by Assemblymember Autumn Burke (D-Marina Del […]

Cost of Wildfire Plans Ignites Calls for Reasonableness Reviews

27 Feb

Questions are mounting about the price tag and effectiveness of utility wildfire mitigation plans filed with the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this month. The plans filed by the state’s three major investor-owned utilities call for spending $3 billion or more a year of ratepayer money with the goal of preventing power lines from sparking […]

Utility Plans Will Prevent Few Wildfires, Fire Safety Experts Tell Lawmakers

27 Feb

As the California Public Utilities Commission begins reviewing electric utility wildfire mitigation plans questions are rising about how effective they’ll be at preventing wildfires. The CPUC continued its review this week, but in Sacramento fire safety experts told state lawmakers that utility power lines spark just 5 percent of the state’s wildfires. Ninety-five percent of […]

San Diego Moves Closer to Community Energy

26 Feb

San Diego’s City Council Feb. 25 voted to move forward with forming a community choice energy program in the state’s second largest city. The program will seek to hit a 100 percent renewable electricity target by 2035. “The best way to make us the greenest city in the nation is to give San Diegans a […]

Court Okays Aliso Canyon Settlement

26 Feb

A state court approved a $119.5 million agreement between the California Air Resources Board, SoCal Gas, and other parties requiring full mitigation of the massive methane leak that occurred in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. “This agreement will mitigate the methane leak itself, and will have a positive impact across […]

Solar Rights Bill Gets Bipartisan Support

26 Feb

Last week, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Jim Nielsen (R-Red Bluff) introduced SB 288, which outlines the rights of California homeowners, schools, businesses, and farmers to make and store their own solar power without interference from utilities. The bill seeks to update outdated tariffs that make it financially unattractive to install solar systems […]

Bills Aim to Give Lawmakers Say in PG&E’s Bankruptcy

26 Feb

Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) introduced three bills Feb. 22, one of which would require legislative approval of any rate increases for Pacific Gas & Electric, which filed for Chapter 11 protection at the end of January. The other two measures are aimed at increasing the safety of the utility’s facilities to protect against wildfires. […]

Inside the Beltway: Green Jobs & Carbon Capture

26 Feb

Updated Feb. 27. It was the yin and the yang in Congress Feb. 27 as a committee of the Republican-controlled Senate held a hearing on carbon capture and sequestration and a panel in the Democratically-dominated House focused on green collar renewable energy jobs. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee held a hearing on the […]

Opinionated: State Puts Buildings in Energy Policy Spotlight

25 Feb

By Pierre Delforge California took another pioneering step in tackling carbon emissions from millions of homes and commercial buildings across the state Feb. 20. The California Energy Commission’s latest policy report puts reducing the climate and air pollution from buildings front and center for the first time, representing a bold—and necessary—shift in energy priorities. It […]

Shorts

25 Feb

SoCal Gas Feb. 28 outlined a plan to offer its customers renewable natural gas. The utility filed the plan with the California Public Utilities Commission, which must approve it before it can go forward. Under the plan, residential customers would be able to opt to have some of their natural gas come from renewable sources. […]

The Buzz

21 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s and Southern California Edison’s $7 billion in energy purchase forecasts. But the approved decision also requires that annual projected power expenses—from renewables to fossil—be compared to the actual tab. State energy regulators unanimously agree to a three-year resource adequacy requirement and to later create a […]