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Brown Wraps Up Bill Signing

16 Oct

Among the last of the energy measures signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on or before the Oct. 15 deadline are ones promoting greater reliance on clean resources to meet power needs in Los Angeles in the wake of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage incident and advance rooftop solar energy systems. Brown signed SB 801 […]

The Buzz

13 Oct

Utility regulators approved $30 million for energy storage facility subsidies in disadvantaged communities, mostly for institutional systems. The California Public Utilities Commission’s former chief administrative law judge is preparing to sue the agency in court on claims of a retaliatory firing after blowing the whistle on alleged collusion by the commission staff with Pacific Gas […]

CPUC Okays $30M of Storage Subsidies for Poor Communities

12 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission Oct. 12 unanimously approved parameters for spending one quarter of the annual energy storage incentive program funds in qualifying disadvantaged and low-income communities. “I hope this is a good example of making a good program more equitable,” said Cliff Rectenschaffen, the presiding commissioner on the decision. He added that the […]

The Buzz

5 Oct

A top legislative staffer gives an insider’s look at the fallout from the governor’s ill-fated effort to push through a bill to create an integrated western grid in the waning days of the legislative session. Electric transportation advocates flock to a meeting this week on the California Air Resources Board’s plan to give away $1.5 […]

Support for Storage Grows While Challenges Mount

4 Oct

Bipartisan support for energy storage is being propelled by the latest round of hurricanes, particularly in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Destroyed and damaged grids need to be rebuilt to be more reliable, with energy storage an essential “part of that conversation,” Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), chair of the Committee on Energy & Natural […]

Energy Bills Signed

3 Oct

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a half dozen energy-related measures into law, including ones to promote energy storage, enhance utility safety, temper utility service disconnections for non-payment, and further reform the California Public Utilities Commission. Brown vetoed one bill that would have dedicated a utility penalty for sparking a wildfire to fire prevention and fighting efforts. […]

Undercurrents: Long-term Nuclear Waste Disposal Remains Stalled

26 Sep

State and local representatives pressed for federal solutions to the problem of mounting radioactive waste at nuclear power plants, including the closed down San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, during a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior, Energy, & Environment Sept. 26. David Victor, chair of the SONGS Community Engagement Panel, told the […]

Shorts

25 Sep

A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposal to facilitate aggregated energy storage and distributed energy resources to participate in wholesale power markets has drawn wide support in comments filed on the federal agency’s proposal, according to an analysis released Sept. 27 by the Solar Electric Power Alliance and the Edison Electric Institute. However, the two organizations’ […]

FERC’s New Chair Walks Fine Line

14 Sep

Neil Chatterjee, the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair, signaled a subtle shift in the commission’s focus to maintaining grid reliability as more renewable energy comes online, during a Sept. 14 House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing. The commission under former President Barack Obama highlighted the role of matching power demand with available energy […]

Undercurrents: Bill Promoting Renewables During Peaks Before Gov.

7 Sep

State legislation to increase the amount of clean alternative resources used to meet peak demand passed both chambers this week. The Senate passed SB 338 on 27-13 vote Sept. 6 after the Assembly passed it 46-26 the day before. “California can demonstrate that a low-cost, low-carbon grid is possible 24/7,” said Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), […]

CA Exodus from Federal Advisory Roles

6 Sep

California is steadily losing its voice when it comes to federal energy and environmental policy as the Trump Administration either alienates or removes Californians from various advisory committees and delegations in Washington. In the latest move, The Trump Administration notified Carl Zichella Sept. 1 that he would not be reappointed to the Department of Energy’s […]

Shorts

6 Sep

A Berkeley-based startup won a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy to help commercialize its innovative battery technology made from graphite that is synthesized from carbon dioxide. “Our process produces graphite more sustainably and affordably than traditional graphite, which is usually sourced from poorly-regulated mines in China or synthesized from petroleum,” Drew Reid, […]

Decentralized Solar Posed to Cut Grid Costs, Report Finds

31 Aug

Decentralized solar coupled with onsite battery storage can reduce strain and costs in maintaining the electrical grid, according to a report commissioned by Sonoma Clean Power that was released Aug. 31. Dubbed “Solar+,” the report said that sufficiently-sized solar systems coupled with storage on a decentralized basis also can serve new power demand as people […]

Lawmakers Zero In on Clean Energy Job Training

31 Aug

Amid frustration about the limited economic contribution of green technology to date, state legislators focused on how to leverage the transition to a clean energy economy into economic and workforce development opportunities during an Aug. 31 hearing. “Imperial County has hit a 24 percent unemployment rate, higher than any other county in the state,” said […]

LADWP Moves Forward on Energy Storage

21 Aug

The nation’s largest municipal power utility committed to connecting 178 MW of electricity storage projects to its system over the next five years. The first project is a 20 MW battery system that will store excess power produced by major solar and wind projects in the Mojave Desert. Acting Aug. 16, the Los Angeles Department […]

Electric Cars & Solar Roofs Driving Energy Demand

3 Aug

California’s future demand for electricity from utilities—and to some extent natural gas—will hinge on how fast electric vehicles and solar rooftops advance in the marketplace, according to the California Energy Commission’s latest forecast. Solar and electric vehicles, according to Chris Kavalic, Energy Commission researcher, “make the most difference in our forecast.” The commission previewed its […]

SoCal Gas Restarts Aliso Canyon Operations

1 Aug

SoCal Gas July 31 began injecting gas into its Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in the Los Angeles area for the first time since a well blowout lead to a giant methane leak in 2015, forcing its closure. The utility notified residents of Porter Ranch and the San Fernando Valley that it had resumed […]

Energy Bills Increasing Data Access & Decreasing New Plants Pass

6 Jul

The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee approved two bills midweek that seek to expand public access to energy data and avoid ratepayer investments in unneeded expansions of the traditional fossil-fueled power system. SB 356 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which aims to increase web access to energy information, passed on a 9-4 vote in spite […]

Undercurrents: PG&E Sued for Refinery Blackout

3 Jul

Valero Refinery is suing Pacific Gas & Electric for $75 million in damages for a May 5 power outage at its Benicia refinery. The June 30 filing in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District Court of California charges PG&E with breach of contract and negligence for failing to provide uninterrupted power— primary and […]

CPUC Targets Smart Inverters’ Potential by 2020

3 Jul

A key to reaching Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of 12,000 MW of distributed energy resources by 2020 involves maximizing the use of smart inverters. Smart inverters “mitigate many of the traditional concerns associated with variable distributed energy resources,” like solar panels, Gabe Petlin, California Public Utilities Commission supervisor, said during a June 29 California Energy […]