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The Buzz

15 Aug

The California Public Utilities Commission says goodbye to President Mike Picker. The five commissioners also approve new decade-long energy efficiency targets and SDG&E’s $100 million heavy-duty vehicle electrification program. The California Independent System Operator gets a CEC pat on the back for being the new Reliability Coordinator. The Energy Commission also adopts impressive new rules […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Warns of GHG Reduction Shortfall

26 Nov

California’s hopes of meeting its 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal by 2030 are fading, according to a report by the California Air Resources Board dated November 2018. The progress report on the state’s efforts to achieve sustainable community development under SB 375 shows state residents are driving more. That’s particularly true for working […]


10 Jul

The harm to the marine environment from using ocean water to cool power plants is more widespread than thought, according to a new research report by the Ocean Protection Council Science Advisory Team. The Council, a state agency, released the report July 9. It showed that ocean currents connect separate marine protection zones, essentially spreading […]


19 Jun

Updated June 21. The grid operator acted June 21 to better align its transmission congestion revenue rights auction revenue with what it pays out to the rights holders in its day-ahead market. On a monthly basis of late, according to the California Independent System Operator, payouts have exceeded revenues by between $2 million and $20 […]

LADWP Budget Serves as Lightening Rod

22 May

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power’s board May 22 adopted a $5.4 billion budget for the muni’s power system for fiscal year 2018-19. Approval, however, came amid controversy over the department’s future reliance on natural gas power, its comparatively meager emphasis on energy efficiency in rental housing, and its ongoing inability to systematically […]

SMUD Approves WaterFix Environmental Document

20 Feb

The California WaterFix project, a potential $16 billion dollar public works plan to divert water from the state’s largest delta in order to improve water supplies, has moved a little closer to reality after a Feb. 15 vote by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s board. On a 7-0 vote, the SMUD board approved findings within […]

New Energy Bills Pile Up Before Deadline

14 Feb

As lawmakers work furiously to meet a Feb. 15 deadline for introducing new legislation in Sacramento, numerous energy-related measures were introduced as of Feb. 13. In the Senate, new measures would backfill the loss of local government revenue in San Luis Obispo County projected to result from the upcoming closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear […]

Innovative Heating Methods Save Gas & Money

25 Jan

Emerging technology projects aimed at reducing natural gas use in buildings while also lowering costs show promise. The California Energy Commission learned at a Jan. 24 workshop about a new rooftop air conditioning unit that uses waste heat from the air conditioned space to pre-heat hot water. The technology cuts natural gas use between 25-35 […]


22 Jan

Updated Jan. 25. California’s investor-owned utilities are seeking to enter contracts with biomethane projects at dairies on a pilot basis both for renewable natural gas to distribute in their pipelines or for power made from the gas. They plan to select at least five separate projects. The utilities issued a draft solicitation for proposals Jan. […]


18 Oct

The grid operator’s Energy Imbalance Market produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members during the third quarter this year. Benefits since the western imbalance market began in 2014 now total $254.98 million, according to the California Independent System Operator on Oct. 18. The grid operator also said that carbon emissions from the […]

Energy Storage Subsidy Bill Hits End of the Road

27 Apr

An Assembly bill aimed at subsidizing utility customer-owned energy storage batteries the same way the California Solar Initiative program has subsidized rooftop solar systems for the past decade appears to have died this week.  A similar measure on the Senate side was approved earlier in the week. The Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee advanced a […]

Climate Roundup: U.S. Energy-Related Emissions Fall as Coal Declines

11 Apr

Last year, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use were 1.7 percent below 2015 levels.  Carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 were pegged at 5.17 million metric tons, the Energy Information Administration reported April 10. The decline was even greater in the electric power sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions fall 4.9 percent. Last year’s decrease […]

Climate Roundup: Lawmakers Advised to Pass Cap & Trade & Broaden Auction Revenue Uses

14 Feb

The Legislative Analyst recommends that legislators authorize a state carbon cap-and-trade program by a two-thirds vote to make it resilient to future legal challenges and to give the California Air Resources Board authority to keep the market-based program in place after 2020. Lawmakers also should give the Air Board “clearer direction” on “whether complementary policies […]

Pilots to Encourage Non Residential Ratepayers to Shift to Mid-day Use Okayed

10 Nov

State energy regulators this week unanimously approved Southern California Edison’s and San Diego Gas & Electric’s small pilots to test midday price discounts to cut energy at times of peak power use. Discounts will be offered to up to 200 industrial, commercial and agriculture ratepayers. These energy users, who have mandatory time-of-use rates, are being […]

Natural Gas & Carbon Bills Pass Natural Resources Committee

30 Jun

Legislation requiring testing of natural gas wells, development of a registry of greenhouse gases caused by the water-energy nexus, and development of a list of areas most at risk for power line-triggered wildfires in the state were approved by the state Assembly Natural Resources Committee June 29. (more…)

Assembly Utilities Committee Passes Nuclear Storage, Tariff Bills

16 Jun

A state Senate joint resolution urging the “prompt and safe” relocation of spent nuclear fuel from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to an unidentified interim consolidated storage facility was passed unanimously by the Assembly’s Utilities & Commerce Committee June 15. (more…)

Offshore Wind Power Gains Traction

26 May

Wind farms on underwater land are currently the standard offshore wind resources, but there’s plenty of potential in floating offshore wind, a national renewable energy lab engineer said during a workshop on offshore renewables this week. (more…)

Once Through Cooling Deadlines Not So Certain

21 Apr

An advisory board recommended April 18 staying the course on phasing out the use of large quantities of ocean water to cool coastal power plants. The phase out deadlines, set for the facilities in May 2010 by the State Water Resources Control Board, seek to address the decades of harm to the coastal ecosystem from […]

JUICE: Naughty & Nice

17 Dec

Here’s California Current’s 2015 rundown of the best and worst in the energy world directly and indirectly affecting California. (more…)

CEC Pulls Plug on Bioenergy Plant Funding

10 Dec

The California Energy Commission this week took the rare step of cancelling an active financial grant when it terminated a multi-million dollar award to a bioenergy company due to what the commission called “significant and unresolved financial irregularities.” (more…)