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Shorts

12 May

Updated March 13 The colorful S. David Freeman, who headed the state’s largest public municipal power agencies, died at 94 years of age. Freeman also was head of the short-lived California Power Authority created during the 2000-01 energy crisis by former Gov. Gray Davis. Freeman helped the state sign $42 billion in overpriced, long-term power […]

Edison Inks 770MW of New Energy Storage Deals

5 May

Southern California Edison signed seven long-term contracts for big battery projects, five co-located at utility-scale solar plants. The storage capacity is to range from 230 MW to 50 MW, with up to four hours of output. All the deals entail lithium ion batteries that are set to come online in August 2021. The five battery […]

Stringent City Building Codes Okayed by Energy Commission

9 Apr

At is first-ever remote hearing in the 45-year history, the California Energy Commission took further steps to curb the use of natural gas in buildings. The five commissioners April 7 approved seven city building ordinances reducing or eliminating natural gas use, increasing renewable use and/or energy savings in new and remodeled construction. The ordinances exceed […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

Renewable-Battery Projects Beat out Stand Alone Facilities

19 Mar

Combining utility scale solar and wind projects with batteries provides greater value at lower costs than either stand-alone intermittent renewable or battery projects, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds. That is particularly true for California with the surge in renewable resources connected to its grid. Large renewable generation paired with storage […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

The Buzz

20 Feb

The West Coast’s first LNG export project looks like its headed for federal approval. This week, however, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission votes 2-1 to tentatively disapprove the Coos Bay project because of Oregon’s recent permit rejection. A majority of the federal energy regulators also reject the New York grid operator’s capacity market revisions, undermining […]

CEC Cheers CAISO’s Reliability Coordinator Job

14 Aug

The California Energy Commission applauded California’s new Reliability Coordinator: the California Independent System Operator. “This is a step in the direction we need to go to integrate” the various western grid transmission activities, including decarbonization, said Commissioner Andrew McAllister at the CEC’s Aug. 14 meeting. On July 1, the CAISO became the state-wide reliability coordinator, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Juice: Cost of Living & Technology Challenges Public Purpose Programs

7 Jan

The collapse of a California Public Utilities Commission plan to put a surcharge on text messages to subsidize telecommunications for low-income residents points to a growing problem. Without new approaches, technological changes and California’s high cost of living may soon make it difficult to fund public purpose programs, for energy and climate change as well […]

Undercurrents

15 May

Updated May 11 Community choice agencies take issue with the California Public Utilities Commission’s paper released two weeks ago that claims community energy, along with the proliferation of solar rooftops, could drive the state into another energy crisis. “It is an unfair characteristization,” Beth Vaughn. California Community Choice Association executive director, said during a May […]

CEC Backs Solar for All New Homes

9 May

Virtually all new homes built in California beginning in 2020 will have to be outfitted with solar panels and be super efficient under energy efficiency standards for new residential construction approved unanimously by the California Energy Commission May 9. “The marketplace is ready,” said Commissioner Andrew McAllister, who oversaw development of the new building standards. […]

Shorts

25 Apr

Votes on competing decisions to provide subsidies for installing solar rooftops in disadvantaged communities were postponed by the California Public Utilities Commission April 25. Both decisions would provide $10 million/year to the Disadvantaged Communities Solar Homes program, funded by revenue from the Air Resources Board’s carbon allowance market auction. Also included in both decisions is […]

Clean Tech: My Dream All-Electric Granny Flat

9 Apr

I am exploring how to make a granny flat my wife and I plan to build all-electric. We want to eliminate emissions from burning natural gas and take advantage of our solar rooftop. Part of the plan may include upsizing our solar system to cover the additional square footage we’ll add. So with a few […]

Budget Panel Picks Apart Energy Budgets

9 Mar

A Senate budget subcommittee questioned some of the governor’s proposed budget items for the energy agencies, including different funding sources for electric vehicle charging. Included in the new potential funding pots for EV infrastructure is money from the California Energy Commission’s solar homes and air quality programs. “This raises key policy questions,” Legislative Analyst Brian […]

The Buzz

2 Feb

California energy regulators and fire safety agencies are working together to try and curb the dangers of the growing numbers of intense wildfires, with a worrisome number sparked by power lines. The California Public Utilities Commission president and other officials lament the inadequacy of resources, policies and preparation during an all day meeting. Fire safety […]

JUICE: Building Code Update Calls for Solar on New Homes

29 Jan

California will become the first state in the nation to require solar systems on new homes under a massive update to state building energy efficiency standards to be adopted by the California Energy Commission this spring. The standards will add about 200 MW of rooftop solar to the grid each year as home builders construct […]

Solar Tariff Means U.S. Job Loss, Industry Warns

22 Jan

President Donald Trump on Jan. 22 imposed a 30 percent tariff on imported solar cells and modules aimed primarily at China, which is the world’s number one producer. “The International Trade Commission found that U.S. producers had been seriously injured by imports and made several recommendations to the President,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. […]

Zero Net Energy Construction Goal Faces Critical Review

30 Nov

The state’s much vaunted strategy to require that all new homes built beginning in 2020 are zero net energy is being re-examined as the California Energy Commission begins to set building codes to enforce the goal. A key development that may weigh on the future of zero net energy is a new study that claims […]