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The Energy Industry in the Time of COVID-19

24 Mar

The energy industry has instituted operational changes to slow the spread of the new coronavirus while staying focused on continuing “essential” services. In addition, energy agencies are pulling back on enforcement in response to the Covid-19 contagion. Onsite agency investigations and audits have come to a stop. State and federal energy agencies also are granting […]

Shorts

17 Mar

Updated March 18 Southern California Edison canceled plans for six pilot microgrids it hoped to have online this September. Only a few bids were received, and all costly. They ranged from $15 million to over $30 million, 13-100 times the costs of the alternatives, the utility told energy regulators, Microgrid Knowledge reported March 17. That […]

The Buzz

28 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric is hit with a historic fine of $2.14 billion for igniting deadly wildfires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018. It comes a few days after PG&E reports significant losses in its 2019 earnings report. The private utilities in the southern half of the state fare far better. Southern California Edison, […]

SoCal Utilities Report Surge in Profit

27 Feb

The parent companies of the investor-owned utilities in Southern California reported rosy 2019 earnings, in contrast to Pacific Gas & Electric. The latter continued to suffer major losses while striving to reorganize and emerge from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison. Sempra Energy is the parent company […]

Shorts

11 Feb

SoCal Gas announced Feb. 11 that its customers saved $55.6 million in 2019 on their annual gas bills through utility energy efficiency programs. The reduced energy consumption avoided about 265,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the equivalent of taking more than 57,000 cars off of California roads for one year, according to SoCal Gas. […]

The Buzz

7 Feb

State energy regulators pay lip service to California’s mandate for the energy sector to be 100 percent clean and then approve the replacement of a 50-mile natural gas pipeline in San Diego. But, the Sempra utilities’ $677 million cost estimate for the project is to be examined. The House Energy & Commerce Committee takes aim […]

Spotlight on Cost of San Diego Gas Pipe Replacement

6 Feb

State energy regulators voted 4-0 to allow interested parties to litigate SoCal Gas’ and San Diego Gas’ & Electric’s proposed $677 million price tag for a 50-mile natural gas pipeline replacement project. The California Public Utilities Commission decision cast Feb 6 requires that the cost of the line’s replacement and testing be scrutinized in a […]

Shorts

30 Jan

The proverbial champagne bottle was broken Jan. 30 on a new compressed renewable natural gas fueling station by SoCal Gas and the mayor of Bakersfield. The station serves gas to trucks and cars made from methane, including that captured from dairy digestors in the Central Valley.  “As one of the most important food and dairy […]

Guest Juice: Energy Storage Prospects Rise with Fall in Renewable Costs

20 Jan

By Wayne Hicks An oft-repeated refrain—the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow—is sometimes seen as an impediment to renewable energy. But it’s also an impetus toward discovering the best ways to store that energy until it’s needed. Declining costs in available technologies have propelled interest in energy storage forward like never […]

CA Regulators Seek to Meld Gas Planning & Clean Energy Targets

16 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 5-0 Thursday to initiate a rulemaking to update its natural gas reliability and long-term planning. The overall aim is to revamp its planning process to ensure gas systems are safe and reliable as California weans itself off of fossil fuels. “The gas system is going through profound changes,” Commissioner […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends, Part 2

13 Jan

This coming year will be full of action in half a dozen energy areas. There will be bigger wrestling matches between California and the Trump Administration over climate protection, between natural gas advocates and opponents, and between community choice aggregation and the private utilities. The three other key issues of 2020: energy storage, electrification of […]

Shorts

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 16 The Department of Energy Jan. 16 approved adding steps to a rule setting new energy efficiency standards for refrigerators, dishwashers, home furnaces, commercial air conditioners, industrial motors and other equipment. DOE “designed its new process rule to make it slower and harder to establish energy-saving efficiency standards,” Andrew deLaski, executive director of […]

Grid Operator’s So CA Natural Gas Curbs Win Approval

6 Jan

Federal energy regulators made permanent natural gas constraints the California Independent System Operator imposed temporarily on Southern California power plants. This is a “just and reasonable approach” to “ensure CAISO continues to have the tools necessary to address risks associated with the potential impacts of the continued limited operability of Aliso Canyon on the reliability […]

CPUC Okays Utilities 2020 Ratemaking

19 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission Dec. 19 unanimously authorized the four investor-owned utilities’ long-term debt and preferred and common equity percentages as part of the test year 2020 ratemaking capital structures. Regulators approved only some of the requested rate of return increases. “The financial stability of the utilities is vital,” said CPUC Chair Marybel Batjer. […]

CPUC Alleges Hundreds of Violations in Aliso Canyon Investigation

11 Dec

California utility regulators late last week detailed 335 alleged violations of health and safety standards by SoCal Gas that led up to the massive well blowout and methane leak in 2015 at the utility’s Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field near Los Angeles. The alleged violations found by the California Public Utilities Commission dated back […]

Shorts

11 Dec

San Bernardino’s County Board of Supervisors Dec. 10 turned down a bid to derail a 650 MW solar power project in Daggett. The 650 MW solar plant, which is being developed by Clearway Energy, will cover 3,500 acres of high desert land and is to include 450 MW of battery storage.  The Newberry Community Services […]

Undercurrents: Marin Clean Energy Expands

25 Nov

Two additional cities joined Marin Clean Energy Nov. 25. Vallejo and Pleasant Hill together will add 64,000 electric service accounts and 150,000 residents to Marin Clean Energy’s service territory, which now incorporates 34 jurisdictions in Solano, Marin, Napa, and Contra Costa Counties. “Cost-competitive energy choice is important to our community,” said Vallejo Vice Mayor Pippin […]

The Buzz

7 Nov

The liability boulder around Pacific Gas & Electric’s neck may thwart its rescue by the federal bankruptcy court, its latest earnings report warnd. Meanwhile, the push for a public takeover of PG&E intensifies. State energy regulators unanimously approve requiring utilities, community choice and other providers to line up an additional 3,300 MW of energy reserves. […]

Sempra’s Earnings Jump, Edison’s Fall

6 Nov

California’s investor-owned utilities in the southern half of the state reported solid earnings, with those of San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCal Gas rising significantly. Southern California Edison’s margin dropped, however. Pacific Gas & Electric, with little notice, reported its third quarter net income Nov. 7. Edison International: the utility’s corporate parent saw its net […]

Renewable Hydrogen Said Key to Carbon Free Future

31 Oct

Renewable hydrogen—made from water in electrolysis units run on excess solar and wind power or from renewable natural gas produced at dairies, landfills, and sewage treatment plants—will be needed to fully decarbonize the state’s economy, say hydrogen energy proponents. During an Oct. 31 online discussion organized by the California Hydrogen Business Council, hydrogen companies and […]