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Picker Bids Adieu, CPUC OKs 10-Year Conservation Targets

15 Aug

This week, President Mike Picker presided over his last California Public Utilities Commission meeting. In response to kudos from fellow commissioners and others for his six years of work at the CPUC, Picker said he does not believe in legacies. “I’m not a judge of what’s right or wrong, but I hope everyone here [at […]

CA Electricity Sector Emissions Fall Nearly 10%

13 Aug

Greenhouse gas emissions from California’s electricity sector in 2017 dropped 9 percent below 2016 levels, but overall emissions in the state fell only 1 percent. The decrease in electricity emissions was offset by rising emissions from the state’s transportation sector, which is the largest source of carbon gases in the Golden State. That is according […]

The Buzz

3 Jul

Expected legislation incorporating the Governor’s wish list for a catastrophic wildfire recovery fund to bail out private utilities facing big liabilities is to get its first airing July 5. The Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee approves bills shifting the cost of supply shortages to energy providers that fall short  and increasing the efficiency of […]

CA Solar Subsidies Shine Bright

2 Jul

California’s solar subsidy program far surpassed its target, helping advance 7,228 MW of new projects in the three private utility territories, according to a California Public Utilities Commission  report issued July 1. “[T]he state has exceeded by roughly 241 percent its goal of 3,000 MW of customer-installed solar power, and the average cost of an […]

Undercurrents: Diablo Closure’s Money Impact Limited

2 Jul

The financial impact to the Central California Coast from the closure of Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant is not expected to be significant. The impact of the 2,200 MW Diablo plant closure slated for 2024-25 is projected to result in an annual loss of about $800 million to San Luis Obispo […]

Wildfire Risk Reduction Bills Pass

26 Jun

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee on Wednesday approved bills seeking to reduce the risk of utility-sparked wildfires and ensure that all energy providers meet state renewable requirements and follow their integrated resource plans. At a June 26 hearing, the committee passed SB 247, which would give CalFire authority over the utilities’ mandated wildfire safety […]

PG&E Creditors Propose $30B Reorganization Plan

26 Jun

A group of Pacific Gas & Electric bondholders and unsecured creditors are pushing a $30 billion financial health plan for the bankrupt utility that would be backed principally by new equity. The plan filed by the Ad Hoc Committee of Unsecured Noteholders June 25 asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Dennis Montali to end ahead of […]

Undercurrents: East Bay Energy Inks 200 MW of Clean Energy Deals

24 Jun

The East Bay Community Energy June 24 signed four contracts for 213.5 MW of wind and solar energy and battery storage projects. One of the four deals is a 10-year agreement for 20 MW of energy storage to provide resource adequacy. It is to partially replace the 40-year old polluting 165 MW Oakland power plant […]

Juice: The Twilight of Fossil Fuel

17 Jun

It’s increasingly apparent that state energy officials are nearing a consensus that natural gas usage in California must be wound down to achieve both climate change and health-based air quality goals. Earlier this month, California Energy Commission officials discussed how to plan for closing down, or systematically shrinking the state’s natural gas distribution system as […]

Climate Roundup: Zero-Carbon Power Grows in U.S.

17 Jun

Zero-carbon power generation exceeded electricity production from either coal or natural gas for the first time in 2017, according to a joint report released by the Bank of America, Entergy, Exelon, Ceres, and the Natural Resources Defense Council on June 17. In 2017, zero-carbon resources accounted for 35.4 percent of power production, while gas-fired power […]

CEC Okays $70 M in Grants & Contracts

12 Jun

The California Energy Commission on a series of 3-0 votes approved nearly $60 million in grants for alternative energy projects, including battery, bioenergy, food production energy efficiency and photovoltaic installations on farms. Almost another $10 million in clean energy project agreements also got the green light. The grants approved during the CEC’s June 12 meeting […]

Montali Rules FERC Has No Say over PG&E Power Deals

10 Jun

A federal bankruptcy court judge ruled in Pacific Gas & Electric’s favor on who controls the more than $40 billion in PG&E’s renewable and gas power purchase agreements. Judge Dennis Montali held that his court, not federal energy regulators, has say over the multi-million dollar deals signed by PG&E. The utility is in the midst […]

Juice: Uncle Joe Offers Climate Change Hope

4 Jun

News flash: Joe Biden just released a $1.7 trillion climate change plan as part of his Presidential campaign platform. While on the late side compared to others, including candidates who spent last weekend at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco, Biden’s plan may well be just as sweeping in its ambition. First and foremost, […]

The Buzz

30 May

This week is all about measures to reduce the impacts of utility-sparked wildfires in California. In the midst of all the smoke, CPUC president Mike Picker says he’ll soon retire. Earlier, he and other state energy regulators approve the investor-owned utilities’ 2019 plans to stem wildfire risks from their equipment. But, the CPUC notes, this is […]

Opinionated: Solar+Storage Challenges Gas Peakers

28 May

By Fereidoon Sioshansi Gas peakers have been around well before the recent rise of renewables made them even more indispensible. How else could grid operators fill in the void created by the vanishing solar generation when the sun sets at the end of the day or when wind stops spinning the wind turbines’ blades? And […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Ratepayer Advocates Fail to Get Official Status

28 May

Updated May 29 The federal bankruptcy court judge handling Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy case rejected creating a formal ratepayer committee. If  approved, it would have required the utility to pay the committee’s legal tab. “Wall Street bankers will be calling the shots, demanding a ratepayer bailout to keep PG&E profitable,” Mark Toney, The Utility […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Focus on Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology

21 May

Updated May 22. A U.S. Senate panel heard encouraging news about the advance of renewable power and energy efficiency this week despite the ongoing drum beat in Washington about the need to preserve coal power plants and drill for more oil. Wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of power over the next […]

FERC Reiterates Support for Storage, Sees Solid Summer Supply in CA

16 May

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on a 3-1 vote cast May 16 denied a rehearing request of its orders seeking to advance participation of energy storage technologies in wholesale power markets. The orders included prohibiting states from not feeding their storage resources into the wholesale market. “Energy storage,” said Neil Chatterjee, FERC chair, “has the […]

High Hydro A Boon to Grid this Summer

15 May

The abundant precipitation and above average snow water content this winter means lots of hydropower this summer, leading to a “very low probability” of grid system shortages, the California Independent System Operator reported May 15. The snow content reaching 162 percent of average means “very robust hydro this year,” Bob Emmert, CAISO interconnection resources manager, […]

Fog City Explores Take Over of PG&E Wires

14 May

If San Francisco replaced bankrupt Pacific Gas & Electric’s power delivery services and assets with its public utility, the city could reap considerable benefits. That is according to an explorative study by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission staff released May 13. “While any sort of acquisition of PG&E property would be a lengthy process, […]