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Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

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 […]

Public-Private San Joaquin Transmission Line In the Works

1 Feb

A 600 MW transmission project in the San Joaquin Valley to begin service in 2023 to power water pumping in this region from the large federal Central Valley Water Project was announced Jan. 31. This San Luis Transmission Project is being developed jointly by the Western Area Power Administration, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water […]

Shorts

21 Aug

Dan Kammen, a University of California professor and chair of the Energy & Resources Group, quit his job as the State Department’s science envoy. His Aug. 23 resignation was in response to President Trump saying the actions of the neo-Nazi groups and civil rights advocates in Charlottesville we are on par. He said Trump’s words […]

Can Clean Power Avoid Gas Plant Rebuilds, LADWP Asks

6 Jun

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power has halted efforts to repower its existing natural gas-fired power plants in the Los Angeles Basin until it can conduct a system-wide assessment of whether the plants will be needed in the future. At a June 6 meeting of the muni’s board, staff outlined its plan to […]

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 […]

Shorts

28 Mar

The March 30 state snow survey shows the snowpack is at 164 percent of the historical average, at 45.8 inches, meaning high river flows and full reservoirs. “California enters the snowmelt season with a large snowpack that will result in high water in many rivers through the spring,” said Michael Anderson, state climatologist. Electronic measurements […]

Ocean Water Use at Coastal Power Plants Declines Faster than Required by State Policy

9 Mar

Use of ocean water for cooling thermal power plants along California’s coast is substantially below what’s required by the State Water Resources Control Board’s policy to phase out use of seawater, a March 8 California Energy Commission analysis shows. First, plant owners have re-powered many facilities to eliminate use of ocean water and have shut […]

SHORTS

1 Mar

California’s Feb. 22 carbon emissions rights auction showed little demand based on results released March 1. Fewer than one-fifth of the 2017 allowances offered for sale actually sold. Interest was even more lackluster for 2020 allowances, with only about 7 percent of those offered selling. Both types of allowances went for $13.57 a ton. The […]

Shorts

15 Feb

The California Department of Water Resources was ordered this week to perform a “forensic analysis” of the failure of the spillway at Oroville Dam by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, which licenses dams that produce hydropower like Oroville, also ordered the department to convene an independent board of consultants to review the situation and […]

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 […]

Undercurrents

5 Jan

In an effort to turn over a new leaf in the new year, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Jan. 3 unveiled a customer bill of rights for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power. (more…)

SHORTS

5 Jan

Tesla and Panasonic Jan. 4 began mass production of lithium-ion battery cells at the automaker’s “Gigafactory” in Nevada. They will be used in Tesla’s energy storage products and Model 3 car. Production is underway for cells that will be used in Tesla’s Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2 energy products. Model 3 car cell production will […]

Sen. Panel Approves Bills Mandating Natural Gas Impact Studies

16 Jun

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee June 13 passed measures requiring studies of the health impacts of the months-long methane leak at Aliso Canyon and on the amount of natural gas needed to fuel proposed generating projects. It also approved legislation seeking to advance emerging energy storage technologies. (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…)

Mojave Desert Plant to Be ‘Drought-Proofed’

16 Jun

The California Energy Commission this week approved a plan to “drought-proof” a power facility located in the Mojave Desert to compensate for water supply issues claimed to be unforeseen when the project was licensed 16 years ago. (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 […]

Shorts

7 Jan

Natural gas prices on the spot market averaged $2.61 per million British thermal units in 2015, the lowest level since 1999, according to the Energy Information Agency Jan. 5. A warm fall last year and record production and storage levels were behind the low price, EIA said.   (more…)

Coastal Water Cooling Revamp on Track

6 Nov

The advisory committee on the phase out of water-intensive cooling at the state’s 19 coastal power plants told water officials Nov. 4 that nearly all the plant operators were able to meet the deadlines for repowering their facilities to slash their water use or retire them. (more…)