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Undercurrents

15 Oct

Illustrating the rising cost of drought and wildfires to utilities, the California Public Utilities Commission slated an Oct. 16 hearing on the proposed recovery from ratepayers of precipitation shortages and fire-related costs by Southern California Edison. Last March, Edison asked the commission to approve recovery of $46.7 million in operation and maintenance costs it incurred […]

Redwood Coast Energy Aims for Offshore Wind Project

24 Sep

Redwood Coast Energy Authority and a group of private companies are hoping to build an offshore wind energy project along the Humboldt County coast that could be operational by 2024. It would be the first offshore wind project on the West Coast. The facility would consist of 10 to 15 floating wind turbines more than […]

Brown Signs SB 901 & Bills Impacting Energy Sector

24 Sep

A new state law allows utilities to borrow money through bonds to cover uninsured wildfire costs subject to California Public Utilities Commission review. The new law, SB 901, also authorizes spending $200 million a year from state carbon cap-and-trade revenue for the next five years to reduce wildfire fuel by thinning forests and conducting controlled […]

CAISO Encourages Storage & Demand Response

5 Sep

The grid operator’s board Sept. 5 approved rule changes aimed at promoting greater participation in its wholesale power market by providers of energy storage and distributed energy resources, including demand response, to cut load when power demand peaks on the grid. In a separate action, the California Independent System Operator’s board also voted to extend […]

Undercurrents: Exit Fee Proposal Bashed by Mayors

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. The mayors of major Bay Area cities Sept. 3 protested a proposal by the California Public Utilities Commission released last month that would raise exits fees for community choice aggregators. San Francisco Mayor London Breed, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the tentative decision by Commissioner Carla […]

Two Dozen Senate Energy Bills Sent to Governor

4 Sep

Gov. Jerry Brown has to decide if a number of bills should become law, including Senate measures to increase direct access for businesses, overhaul utility energy efficiency programs, increase mandated energy storage levels, and create new incentives for near zero emissions space and water heating in buildings. Brown also has to decide whether to sign […]

Shorts

4 Sep

Updated Sept. 6. In-state generation capacity at the end of 2017 stood at 79,825 MW, according to a California Energy Commission tally. While most types of generation remained relatively unchanged over the past year, CEC noted utility-scale photovoltaic solar capacity increased by 1,026 MW to 9,769 MW. In terms of actual generation of power, natural […]

New EV Charger Law, Diablo Funding Bill Goes to Gov’s Desk

21 Aug

Legislation to backfill funding for the community that’s home to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant after it closes in 2025 has been sent to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign into law. The measure also restores funds for employees who will lose their jobs when the plant closes. SB 1090 by Sen. Bill Monning (D-San […]

Juice: Sun Breaks through Market Clouds for Generators

13 Aug

Much attention has focused on the state’s biggest investor-owned utility’s struggles with potentially overwhelming liability from wildfire damage, with the other two utilities impacted. Meanwhile, merchant generators operating in California have struggled for years, generating far fewer headlines. All of the merchant companies, which are not regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission, have been […]

Shorts

7 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission published the final version of its paper on customer choice for electricity Aug. 7, but it makes no specific policy recommendations. The  final paper proposes scheduling the development of  a separate action plan by this fall that may outline recommendations to deal with the changes sweeping the state’s power industry. […]

Juice: Key Energy Developments

7 Aug

While we were away at the beach and hiking in mountains, the state’s energy agencies took significant action on ratepayer protection, grid reliability and greenhouse gas reduction. The California Public Utilities Commission approved a settlement, which was percolating the last few years, on the allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s hefty closure costs. […]

Clashing Views on Power Industry Emissions

3 Jul

A legislative hearing on tracking carbon from electrons delivered to Californians quickly turned into a debate about grid regionalization and the impact of community choice aggregators and direct access providers in the state Capitol on July 2. Liane Randolph, California Public Utilities Commission member, said her agency has targeted a reduction of 42 million tons […]

Bill Allowing Unlimited Direct Access Advances

28 Jun

Legislation lifting the cap on the ability of large businesses and industries to be served by non-utility energy service providers passed out of the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee June 27 despite significant opposition, including from the panel chair. SB 237 by Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), which would remove limits on direct access, was approved […]

Geothermal Procurement Bill Clears Senate Panel

28 Jun

Legislation to require utilities, community choice aggregators, and energy service providers to purchase more geothermal energy, particularly from new facilities being developed at the Salton Sea, cleared a crucial state Senate committee June 27. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee voted 7-2 to advance AB 893 by Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella), who represents Imperial […]

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 […]

Climate Change Roundup: Court Tosses Bay Area Suits Against Oil Firms

26 Jun

Lawsuits brought by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland seeking damages from the oil majors for climate pollution were dismissed June 25 by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The ruling held that greenhouse gas emissions control is a political matter and not one to be decided by a court […]

Assembly Panel Passes Wildfire Liability Bills

21 Jun

Over major opposition, the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee passed legislation to create a separate safety proceeding for investor-owned utilities at the California Public Utilities Commission. If utilities are deemed in compliance with safety regulations to be developed with input from the Office of Emergency Services, then ratepayers would be on the hook for the […]

Bill Extends Energy Storage Incentive

21 Jun

After approving legislation setting parameters on utility wildfire risks, the Assembly energy panel passed a bill that would add another five years to the program offering incentives to behind-the-meter small energy storage systems. SB 700 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would extend the small energy storage subsidy under the Self Generation Incentive Program. This […]

The Buzz

8 Jun

The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators’ door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos. Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed […]

LADWP Budget Serves as Lightening Rod

22 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board May 22 adopted a $5.4 billion budget for the muni’s power system for fiscal year 2018-19. Approval, however, came amid controversy over the department’s future reliance on natural gas power, its comparatively meager emphasis on energy efficiency in rental housing, and its ongoing inability to systematically […]