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PG&E Safety Gaps Highlighted

16 Apr

In spite of ongoing safety issues and problems at Pacific Gas & Electric, the company lacks a “comprehensive safety strategy,” the California Public Utilities Commission was told April 15. PG&E does not have “a coordinated safety strategy that takes a look at the whole,” said Angela Anderson, project manager for Northstar Consulting. The company has […]

Assembly Committee Okays Energy Info Bills

11 Apr

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved several measures aimed at providing more public information on energy prices April 10. Bills approved by the panel included: AB 1799 by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), to require the California Energy Commission to form a task force to delve into recent natural gas price volatility, which boosted the […]

The Buzz

4 Apr

Bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric announces a new slate of directors. The Tennessee Valley Authority’s former chief is named the new CEO, with final voting to take place at the end of May. California energy and waste regulators start to grapple with surging quantities of aging solar panels and batteries. Steps needed to avert a […]

PG&E Proposes New CEO & Board

4 Apr

In response to significant pressure to overhaul its board after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Pacific Gas & Electric announced a new slate of directors April 3. It would put the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority, William Johnson, at the head.  As part of its board “refreshment process,” PG&E […]

Seeking to Avoid a Huge PV Panel & Battery Mess

4 Apr

Solar panels installed with state subsidies are starting to reach the end of their lives, but California lacks a plan to dispose, reuse or recycle them. The numbers of aging panels are increasing given the continued growth in photovoltaic installations. Making matters worse is that huge amounts of batteries used in energy storage and vehicles […]

Alternative Energy Bills Go Forward

2 Apr

The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approved a small number of bills April 2, including ones to increase the savings of utility energy efficiency programs and expand fuels that can be used in qualifying biomass plants. The approved measures include SB 524 by Sen. Henry Stern (D-Calabasas). It seeks to increase the energy savings […]

CPUC’s Policy & Planning Division is History

2 Apr

With no fanfare, the California Public Utilities Commission April 1 eliminated its Policy & Planning Division. There had been talk of the division getting a new head, but instead its’ acting director, along with others, were moved to other sections of the CPUC as part of an internal reorganization. On Monday, according to Terrie Prosper, […]

Central Resource Adequacy Procurement Bill Advances

27 Mar

A state Senate committee backed a bill to create a central procurement authority in California to purchase power needed for resource adequacy on the grid. The Senate Energy, Utilities, & Communications Committee on March 27 backed the measure, SB 350 by Sen. Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys). “Investor-owned utilities are having a harder time determining what […]

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 […]

The Buzz

21 Mar

Two federal energy regulators warn of litigation risks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been creating with its deficient greenhouse gas impact assessments of commission-approved projects. California’s top lawyer throws his weight behind the Bay Area Cities climate change suit against the oil majors. Also, it is mixed messages from FERC. The right wing chief […]

CPUC Forced to Correct Resource Adequacy Waiver Claims

19 Mar

During a third Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee hearing on the changing electricity industry landscape, the California Public Utilities Commission president was taken to task for incorrectly stating at previous hearings that 11 community aggregators were exempted from buying local reliability resources. Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) wanted to know the correct number of […]

Assembly Panel Seeks Assurances of A Clean Affordable Future

7 Mar

An Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee hearing centered on how to ensure California reliably and affordably decarbonizes it energy infrastructure at a time when the sector is going through a metamorphosis. “It is a difficult challenge and we have met the challenge to date,” Mark Rothleder, California Independent System Operator vice president of market quality […]

Some Generators See Brighter Earnings

7 Mar

The 2018 earnings results for merchant generators with facilities in California were brighter, with the exception of AltaGas. AES: This giant global power company’s net earnings for 2018 rose sharply to $1.203 billion, or $1.82 a share. That is compared to a loss in 2017 of 1.16 billion, or minus $1.74/share. AES’s fourth quarter earnings […]

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] […]

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. […]

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 […]

CPUC Approves Edison Deal for Imperial Valley Solar

21 Feb

Action by the California Public Utilities Energy Commission this week included approval of a 20-year purchase agreement proposed by Southern California Edison for 107 MW from a solar project in Imperial Valley operated by Consolidated Edison. The commission voted 4-1 to approve the deal for the output of the operating Wistaria Solar facility over the […]

Senate Panel Warned of Excess Reliance on Cap & Trade

20 Feb

Over reliance on the state’s carbon cap-and-trade program to reach California’s 2045 carbon neutrality target was the focus of a Feb. 20 Senate Environmental Quality Committee hearing. “The cap-and trade program is providing practically no benefit to emissions reductions,” warned Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont). However, of the 621 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emission […]

EPIC Program Aims to Get Ahead of Epic Changes

20 Feb

Key focuses of the state program dispensing $162 million a year are advancing innovative clean energy projects in disadvantaged communities and communities with high fire danger. Another top priority of the Electric Program Investment Charge is diversifying energy storage in California to help meet climate protection and renewable targets in a changing environment, said speakers […]

Juice: Clear Cutting for Fire Safety?

19 Feb

Oaks and other trees in California beware. The state’s investor-owned utilities have declared open season on trees in the name of fire safety. In doing so, utilities are set to cut down 400,000 trees this year alone, largely along their distribution lines where Californians live and work. Indiscriminate tree cutting and topping has the potential […]