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CPUC Changes Biomethane & DER Cost Effectiveness Rules

16 May

During state energy regulators’ business meeting, held in Oxnard this week, they adopted changes to safety standards for biomethane put into utility pipelines. The changes are in accordance with recommendations made by the California Council on Science & Technology. The changes, approved May 16 by the California Public Utilities Commission include: Lowering the heating value […]

Juice: Organic Waste & Renewable Natural Gas

7 May

California’s energy sector could be significantly impacted by a pending regulatory proposal by the state’s solid waste agency. At issue is CalRecycle’s proposal calling for reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants under a law enacted in 2016. CalRecycle’s regulations are aimed at cutting fugitive methane emissions from landfills in California caused when yard and food […]

Sempra Earnings Improve

7 May

Sempra Energy earned $441 million in the first quarter of 2019, up from $347 million during the same period in 2018, according to the San Diego-based company’s latest financial statement. On a per share basis, earnings during the first three months of 2019 were $1.59, up from $1.33 during the first quarter of 2018. “Sempra […]

Shorts

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]

Electrification v. Renewable Gas

9 Apr

As state energy officials begin to develop a strategy to decarbonize buildings, they face sharply competing interests. Some favor renewable powered electrification, while others advocate filling existing gas pipelines with renewable natural gas and hydrogen to get the job done. State Sen. Henry Stern (D-Thousand Oaks) acknowledged the “tension,” but stressed that ultimately affordability will […]

Coalition Fights Phase Down of Natural Gas

27 Mar

As California energy policymakers look to eliminate use of natural gas in buildings and phase out gas power plants, the natural gas industry signaled this week it won’t go down quietly. A recently formed coalition—which includes SoCal Gas, homebuilders, businesses, farmers, ministers, and others—on March 25 called on state agencies and leaders to “adopt balanced […]

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 […]

Shorts

25 Mar

Updated March 28. State utility regulators this week turned down a bid by Pacific Gas & Electric to sell its Narrows Hydroelectric Project to the Yuba County Water Agency. The utility sought approval of the sale for $3.8 million through an advice letter. However, the California Public Utilities Commission decided that due to the complexity […]

Shorts

18 Mar

A Nevada Senator is proposing to increase the state’s renewable portfolio mandate to 50 percent by 2030. Sen. Chris Brooks’ SB 358 is in response to Silver State voters overwhelmingly supporting a 50 percent RPS in last November’s election. “Clean energy jobs are growing faster per capita in Nevada than anywhere else in the country,” […]

Shorts

12 Mar

Updated March 14. A U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the federal bankruptcy court shall decide the fate of up to $42 billion in contracts Pacific Gas & Electric signed and may void. In late January, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it has concurrent authority over the fate of […]

Shorts

6 Mar

SoCalGas announced it would replace 20 percent of its natural gas supply with renewable gas by 2030. “Our vision is to become the cleanest natural gas utility in North America, delivering affordable and increasingly renewable energy to our customers,” said Bret Lane, SoCal Gas chief executive officer, March 6. Natural gas produced from food waste, […]

Losses for Two Utilities Mount Due to Wildfire Liabilities

28 Feb

California’s investor-owned utilities and their parents, with the exception of Sempra Energy, got clobbered in 2018 by wildfire liabilities. Two of the utilities together had total losses of almost $7.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Moreover, the financial reports showed that more losses may lie ahead. Edison International: It lost $1.4 billion, or […]

Court Okays Aliso Canyon Settlement

26 Feb

A state court approved a $119.5 million agreement between the California Air Resources Board, SoCal Gas, and other parties requiring full mitigation of the massive methane leak that occurred in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field. “This agreement will mitigate the methane leak itself, and will have a positive impact across […]

Gas Supply Crimps Stress Southern California

11 Feb

Cold weather in Southern California is continuing to stress natural gas supplies, resulting in gas withdrawals by SoCal Gas from its constrained Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility. The utility notified the California Public Utilities Commission that it had to withdraw gas from the field beginning at 11:22 p.m. on Feb. 10 as temperatures dipped […]

Shorts

5 Feb

Updated Feb. 6 Federal legislation to repeal the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles was introduced Feb. 6. It also would require that EV drivers pay into the Highway Trust Fund.  The “Fairness for Every Driver Act” was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works chair, and […]

CPUC Prohibits SoCal Gas from Keeping $1B+ in Cap-Trade Money

31 Jan

At its end of the month business meeting, the California Public Utilities Commission forbade Southern California Gas from redirecting $1.21 billion generated by greenhouse gas cap-and trade revenue away from its natural gas ratepayers to cover utility administrative costs. The five commissioners, including the newest member, Genevieve Shiroma, directed the gas utility Jan. 31 to […]

Shorts

31 Jan

The West’s energy imbalance market saved electric utility customers $62.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 by finding purchasers for 23,425 MWh of surplus renewable energy that otherwise would have been curtailed, according to the California Independent System Operator on Jan. 31. Since the market— which facilitates short-term trades of excess power—began operating in […]

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 […]