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FERC Investigates California August Outages

17 Sep

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee announced Thursday that his agency is looking into what caused a shortage of electricity that led to rolling outages in California on Aug. 14 and 15. He said he is concerned about heat related events and wildfires. “Climate change is increasing the ferocity and number of weather events,” […]

The Buzz

11 Sep

Northern San Diegans vigorously protest San Diego’s plan to upgrade and extend a big power line from San Marcos to Escondido. After listening to concerns about fire and financial dangers, as well as visual blight, the California Public Utilities Commission pulls the item from this week’s business meeting. In other news, the utility regulators learn […]

Northern San Diego County Residents Oppose New Overhead Line

10 Sep

Members of the public expressed strong concern about a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric to modernize and extend a 12-mile 69 kV line through northern San Diego County, leading state regulators to delay a vote for construction that seemed sure to be approved. Several locals, many emotional, said the proposed overhead line running […]

Energy Chair Sounds Alarm Over Skyrocketing Electric Bills

9 Sep

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair warned that increases in California utility bills are becoming untenable. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) pointed to the private utilities’ tab to reduce climate-aggravated wildfires, which gets passed on to customers. “Rates are really getting out of control,” Holden said during a Sept. 9 Power Association of Northern California meeting, […]

Withered Demand Response Blamed for Rolling Outages

26 Aug

The grid operator, state energy regulators and utilities largely abandoned demand response that would have provided enough electricity to avert outages during the recent heat wave, advocates of the policy say. And the numbers back them up. Rather than strengthen demand response, in which energy users cut back to leave more electricity on the grid […]

Rising Concern Over Diesel Generators

25 Aug

Pacific Gas & Electric came under fire for relying on diesel generators at a special joint energy and air agency day-long meeting Aug. 25. The utility is now moving large generators into 62 substations to provide backup power to communities in the event of outages provoked by fire. But generators owned by PG&E and others […]

The Buzz

20 Aug

After 400,000 Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric customers had their power cut late last week because extreme heat spiked energy demand, Gov. Newsom tells energy officials to analyze the screw up. The grid operator, and heads of the California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission also must […]

The Buzz

14 Aug

Triple digit temperatures across much of the state starting today will significantly drive up peak demand. The grid operator calls on customers to conserve energy the afternoon and evening of Aug. 14 to avoid overtaxing the grid because of a surge in air conditioning. Some warn that demand response is largely being left out of […]

Officials Demand PG&E Limit Shutoffs, Protect the Vulnerable

14 Aug

After Pacific Gas & Electric’s damaging shutoffs last fall, state officials demanded Aug. 13 that it immediately work with county health officials to ensure the most physically vulnerable residents have essential power. State officials applied a much heavier hand to PG&E than to the two private southern California utilities. Earlier this week, representatives from Southern […]

Pressure Grows on CEC to Mandate Construction Electrification

12 Aug

Advocates of building electrification cheered two city measures to cut emissions from new buildings approved by the California Energy Commission Aug. 12. They urged the commission to go much further and adopt a state-wide construction electrification mandate as part of the 2022 building code revision. The city building codes of Davis and San Luis Obispo, […]

Officials Grill So. CA Utility Execs Over Wildfire Preparation

11 Aug

California investor-owned utilities pledged to reduce the extent and duration of their power shutoffs this year. They also assured regulators this week that they’ve taken steps to thwart the spread of Covid-19 at community centers during fires and outages, and to protect medically vulnerable customers. Utility regulators and fire and emergency response agencies grilled utility […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

PG&E Sparked Last Fall’s Kincaid Fire, CalFire Finds

16 Jul

Following an investigation, Cal-Fire concluded July 16 that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for starting the Kincaid Fire near Geyserville, in Sonoma County, last October. The fire began Oct. 23 and burned until Nov. 6, destroying 374 structures and scorching nearly 78,000 acres. The announcement comes less than a month after PG&E emerged from […]

FERC to Tighten Dam Safety Rules Post Oroville Collapse, Okays Klamath Dam Removal

16 Jul

Federal regulators proposed updating dam safety requirements in response to the 2017 failure of the spillway at the Oroville Dam and two recent collapses in Michigan. The partial crumbling of Oroville’s spillway, the nation’s highest dam, forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the spillway. The Federal […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

Enviro Groups Try to Head Off Renewable Gas

14 Jul

Rejecting the term “renewable natural gas,” two environmental organizations have issued a report calling the fuel both environmentally and financially unsustainable. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice say that using biogas from landfills and dairies, biomass and synthetic gas in place of electrification does “not provide a path to decarbonizing the gas grid in line with […]

NREL Study Calls for Safe Solar Panel Disposal & Critical Material Recovery

13 Jul

We’re not far into the age of mega solar, but discarded modules are beginning to stack up, and they contain both rare and toxic materials. By 2050, there could be 80 million metric tons of discarded solar panels, according to a new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The average life of a PV […]

Newsom Beefs Up Fire Fighting Budget, Adds Social Distancing Plan

9 Jul

As summer temperatures increase, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the addition of 858 fire fighters in CaFire ranks and six new California Conservation crews. Safety protocols to avoid the spread of Covid-19 will be in place for firefighters and those evacuated. “Even in a challenging budget climate, we have undertaken major action and made significant investments […]

Building Electrification Gets Broad Support

9 Jul

Struggling Californians make up 40% of the population and suffer a disproportionate share of indoor pollution, principally from gas-fueled appliances. A new report, Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, offers a blueprint for financing strategies to drive the electrification of the homes of low-income people. Currently, home clean energy retrofits are principally reaped by Californians who […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

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