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Winter Power Supply Looks Good, FERC Says

23 Oct

California will have an adequate supply of natural gas and electricity this winter, with gas prices down slightly from last year, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2017-18 winter energy assessment. “Fuel and electricity demand likely will be moderate this winter,” Alan Haymes, FERC economist, said Oct. 19. Moderate demand is expected, he said, […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems. The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas […]

Real Time Gas Market Pitched

9 Oct

Creating a natural gas imbalance market in the state is to be explored at the California Energy Commission. Implementing a real time gas market would “transform” the current California market by allowing the price of gas to vary on a “sub-day basis,” Greg Lander, Skipping Stone president, told the commission Oct. 9. He said doing […]

Clean Power Cuts Natural Gas Need

9 Oct

Natural gas usage in California is projected to remain flat or decline slightly with increased energy efficiency and renewable power, according to a California Energy Commission projection shared at an Oct. 9 meeting. Slack demand in California coupled with high levels of gas production likely will result in less need for natural gas storage facilities […]

Shorts

2 Oct

Sempra Energy is ready to file for approval to take over Oncor Electric Delivery Co. in Texas with the state’s Public Utility Commission. Sempra plans to purchase 80 percent of the Texas transmission company. “Our goal is to keep Oncor strong, independent and well-capitalized for the benefit of Texas customers,” said Sempra Chief Executive Officer […]

Climate Roundup: CA Spending Plan for Carbon Auction Money is Law

19 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown quickly signed into law two bills, AB 109 and AB 134, which appropriate $1.6 billion in state carbon cap-and-trade auction revenue this fiscal year. The money will go largely to projects aimed at advancing conversion of the transportation sector to electric technology. The spending package also will help sequester carbon in vegetation […]

Utilities Benefit from New Climate Prediction Tools

29 Aug

Climate change is affecting energy utilities in a wide variety of ways and the pace of change is expected to quicken in the years ahead. However, utilities are beginning to benefit from new predictive tools the state has developed to help them plan future facilities that are adapted to a warmer climate. “It’s incumbent on […]

Climate Roundup: Tar Sands Fuel Protest in Richmond

1 Aug

Protestors July 31 blockaded an oil terminal in Richmond along San Francisco Bay because it’s expected to receive Canadian tar sands. “This is the second week in a row that activists are blockading this facility — and you can expect protests up and down the West Coast as banks and oil companies continue to try […]

Clean Tech: Using Gas Pipelines for Hydrogen Delivery Is Up Hill Struggle

18 Jul

While policymakers envision piggybacking on the natural gas utility pipeline distribution system to distribute hydrogen to fuel vehicles and burn in homes and businesses, a new study casts doubt about the economics and practicality of doing so, at least for the next 20 years. The University of California at Davis study, presented to the California […]

Climate Roundup: Brown to Hold World Climate Meeting

3 Jul

Editor’s Note: Updated July 6 Gov. Jerry Brown announced July 6 he is convening  a global climate action summit in San Francisco, CA. It is planned for September 2018. “It’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of […]

Renewable Gas Market Hampered by Cost

27 Jun

California has a significant potential to use methane produced by biological sources to stem global warming and reduce urban air pollution, researchers told three agencies this week at a joint meeting on reducing methane emissions. But there is a catch. Excluding externalities, biomethane is much more costly than other energy resources. Methane, a powerful greenhouse […]

Ways to Advance Renewable Gas

27 Jun

State energy and environmental agencies June 27 heard a potpourri of ideas for building a market to sop up biomethane, which is currently produced and emitted to the atmosphere from dairies, sewage treatment plants, landfills, and other sources in California. Biomethane can be used as a renewable fuel to power vehicles, make electricity and displace […]

Bill to Keep Utility Safety Funds on Track Advances

22 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 21 passed four small bills with little or no discussion, including one that aims to keep private utilities from diverting approved financial resources away from authorized safety work, including for pipelines. SB 595 by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) to prevent safety money diversions was approved on a 14-1 […]

Regulators Approve Gas Leak Reporting Best Practices

15 Jun

To help California meet its mandate to slash greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030, state regulators unanimously approved more than two dozen best practices aimed at reducing methane leaks from natural gas utility distribution and transmission pipelines. “This is a major shift in what we expect of infrastructure,” said California Public Utilities Commission President […]

SHORTS

6 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission fined PG&E $400,000 June 6 for violations related to the failure of a transmission tower north of the Moss Landing substation on Oct. 18, 2015.  The CPUC’s Safety and Enforcement Division found that the utility used an incorrect angle in building the four concrete footings of the tower, causing it […]

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 […]

Undercurrents: Laying Ground Rules to Lessen Grid Insecurities

3 May

Energy regulators face myriad challenges in ensuring that state utilities adequately protect their substations, power lines and other energy infrastructure, from utility resistance to sharing sensitive information to impacts on ratepayer wallets. “Making sure the utilities are not overspending, and spending the right amount and in the right areas,” are key concerns, California Public Utilities […]

House Panel Renews Energy Modernization Legislation Effort

15 Feb

A House subcommittee began hearings aimed at getting an energy infrastructure modernization bill passed in this Congress after legislation crafted in the last legislative session failed. (more…)