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FERC Continues to Exclude GHG Impacts in Project Decisions

18 Apr

Two major liquefied natural gas facilities export projects in Texas and Louisiana were approved 3-1 by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, although the decisions omit evaluations of their direct and cumulative greenhouse gas impacts. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who cast the decisive yes vote at the April 18 meeting, welcomed the projects and the decisions including […]

Assembly Panel Okays Bills on Power Shutoff Rules & Unions

3 Apr

Legislation tweaking energy rules and policies, including setting deenergization protocols and prohibiting utilities from using ratepayer funds to deter workers from unionizing, passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 3. AB 868 by Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-Placerville) requires that private and public utilities develop criteria specifying when and how they will stop […]

Juice: Climate Change Is A Force for Decentralizing Energy

26 Mar

California utilities have been under pressure for years from new small-scale and decentralized power generation technologies like rooftop solar, and aging facilities that have exploded and killed people. Add in climate-driven wildfires and the utilities are being pushed to the brink. This requires changes to the role and structure of monopoly utilities, as many have […]

FERC Democrats Challenge Agency’s Scant Climate Analyses

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators March 21 criticized their agency’s shortcomings in considering upfront the greenhouse gas impacts of commission-approved projects. “We are creating litigation risks by putting our heads in the sand,” said Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. She highlighted a March 20 federal D.C. District Court ruling that blocks oil and gas drilling […]

CPUC Takes Heat for Poor Utility Ratings & Safety

31 Jan

State lawmakers Jan. 30 grilled the head state energy utility regulator over what his agency was doing to bolster utility ratings and reduce wildfire risks during an Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing. Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) warned California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker that the investor-owned utilities may become “un-investible” because of […]

Shorts

22 Jan

PG&E told the federal district court that put the company on probation following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion, that its direction to inspect its huge power system and clear vegetation near wires could cost up to $150 billion.  “PG&E would inevitably need to turn to California ratepayers for funding, resulting in a substantial increase […]

The Buzz

17 Jan

State energy agencies are delving into natural gas and electricity price spikes in Southern California. One major SoCal Gas supply pipeline remains out of service after it burst in 2017, while two other major utility pipelines are operating at reduced capacity due to age deterioration. Lawmakers and the governor are not rushing to any conclusions […]

State Regulators Scrutinize Surging So Cal Energy Prices

16 Jan

Southern Californians are paying more for natural gas and electricity due to the aging and failing natural gas supply system run by SoCal Gas. Due to limited capacity to deliver gas to homes, businesses, and power generators, the price of gas in Southern California was 134 percent higher during the months of July through September […]

FERC Works to Ensure Energy Customers Benefit from Tax Savings

15 Nov

Federal energy regulators took action this week to require the electricity and natural gas industries to pass along tax savings resulting from the 2017 federal tax reform bill. “The goal of the whole thing is to get tax savings back into the hands of consumers as soon as possible,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur […]

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 […]

CPUC Okays Storage Projects & Funds to Control Gas Leaks

11 Oct

Utility regulators Oct. 11 delayed approving utility research and development plans funded through the Electric Program Investment Charge program, but okayed energy storage contracts for two utilities, and the collecting of rates to control methane leaks from utility pipelines. Without comment, the California Public Utilities Commission approved six energy storage contracts for Pacific Gas & […]

SoCal House Races May Change National Energy Debate

9 Oct

Long-time Republican members of California’s Congressional delegation face uphill battles in retaining their seats next month. Meanwhile, new faces are guaranteed in districts where Republicans are retiring from the House. The potential changes come November—particularly if Democrats take over the House—could bring high profile showdowns on climate change, energy and environmental policy issues in Washington […]

Undercurrents: Renewable Gas Flows, Hydrogen Supply Doesn’t

17 Sep

Renewable natural gas will begin flowing soon at 25 natural gas vehicle fueling stations owned by SoCal Gas, as well as at six fueling stations in the San Diego area. Renewable gas consists of methane generated in landfills, wastewater treatment plants, food processing, and dairies. Capturing it and using it as fuel for vehicles, power […]

OPINIONATED: Go Back to Aliso Canyon Deal Drawing Board

28 Aug

By V. John White Three years ago, Aliso Canyon was home to the largest methane leak in U.S. history, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations, the release of more than 100,000 tons of potent GHG emissions, and the evacuation of more than 10,000 families. Earlier this month, the state attorney general and California Air Resources Board […]

The Buzz

19 Jul

The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation. In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week. Current’s Juice […]

Shorts

16 Jul

Federal energy regulators July 18 approved a final rule requiring interstate pipeline companies to pass along to customers their savings under the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act. Companies will have to file a form outlining their savings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It acted this week on the matter. While FERC will have […]

Assembly Panel Backs Senate Energy Bills

26 Jun

A controversial measure to require California natural gas utilities to purchase biomethane gained ground June 25, narrowly passing out of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on a 6-1 vote. SB 1440 by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) would require the state’s gas utilities to enter contracts for a minimum of ten years by 2020 for […]

Shorts

12 Jun

Ancillary service scarcities in the state’s real time power market are increasing, the California Independent System Operator noted June 11. Since March, the uptick has been notable, according to grid operator data. While shortages occurred in 2016 and 2017, scarcities from March through May of this year are running at more than double the rate […]

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 […]

Proposed $640M San Diego Gas Transmission Line Shot Down

2 May

A  proposed California Public Utilities Commission decision rejects a bid by San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas for a permit to build a 47-mile long gas transmission line at a cost of $639 million. The tentative ruling issued May 2 finds no need for the project, which would increase gas capacity in the […]