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The Buzz

31 Aug 2018


A bill to put ratepayers on the hook for the cost of utility liability from wildfires sparked by electric lines rose from the dead this week. It faces a showdown vote today in the Legislature.

Gov. Jerry Brown must decide whether to sign into law a bill that would set the state on the course to 100 percent carbon-free and renewable power by 2045, after lawmakers pass the measure two years after its introduction...

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OPINIONATED: Go Back to Aliso Canyon Deal Drawing Board

28 Aug 2018


By V. John White

Three years ago, Aliso Canyon was home to the largest methane leak in U.S. history, resulting in dozens of hospitalizations, the release of more than 100,000 tons of potent GHG emissions, and the evacuation of more than 10,000 families.

Earlier this month, the state attorney general and California Air Resources Board proposed a settlement to a lawsuit against the facility’s owner, the Southern California Gas Company...

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The Buzz

23 Aug 2018


As the Legislature comes down to the wire, some energy measures appear close to passing, including one that will move to greenhouse gas-free power and another to bolster energy storage.

Southern California Edison gets the okay to build a $170 million sub-transmission line to serve parts of Riverside County.

Legislation replacing mitigation funding for the community that houses the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant after it closes awaits Gov...

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Live Energy Bills & Ones on Life Support

23 Aug 2018


Bills to move to 100 percent greenhouse gas-free power and to grow energy storage in California are close the finish line. But, legislation to open up direct access was gutted and is unlikely to be put to a vote.

SB 100, to require 100 percent carbon-free power in California by 2045, remains alive as lawmakers move to wind up their legislative session on Aug. 31.

The bill, which passed the state Senate, was amended on the Assembly floor Aug...

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The Buzz

17 Aug 2018


Few are holding their breath on votes on the big pending energy bills. The fate of legislation creating grid regionalization and a 100 percent green energy bill, as well as addressing wildfire liability, is anyone’s guess.

Adequate and continuous funding for wildfire mitigation and management in California is the elephant in the room that legislators don’t want to touch. As a legislative conference committee continues hearings to try and figure out how to cope with wildfires, funding proposals have yet to gather steam...

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The Buzz

10 Aug 2018


A legislative conference committee working to address wildfire safety and liability standards for utilities faces major opposition. The big kahuna is who gets slammed with the multi-billion tab for harm from utility equipment-sparked blazes.

Major energy legislation to create a regionalized grid, move to 100 percent carbon-free power, and open up direct access to all non-residential electricity customers is delayed...

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Major Energy Bills Stall in Sacramento

9 Aug 2018


Legislation that would make major changes to the state’s electricity industry failed to advance this week as lawmakers began to count down the remaining days in this year's legislative session.

One bill stalled on the Assembly floor and two were delayed in legislative appropriations committees where they face an Aug. 17 deadline for approval or likely will die.

A bill to require the power industry to become 100 percent carbon-free by 2045 was slated for action on the Assembly floor Aug...

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The Buzz

19 Jul 2018


The East Bay’s new community choice program adopts a five-year local investment plan that targets local renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric transportation.

In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship in Washington, members of both parties in the House praise the growing role of energy storage technology during a committee hearing this week.

Current’s Juice column urges caution in approaching grid regionalization...

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East Bay Choice Adopts $4.5M/Year Plan

19 Jul 2018


Northern California’s newest community energy program unanimously adopted a $22.5 million, five-year business plan to develop local energy resources, electrify transportation, increase energy efficiency and create local jobs.

“This will help us not only provide local clean energy that is more affordable, but also investments in local jobs and development,” City of Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arequin said at the East Bay Community Energy’s July 18 meeting where the plan was adopted...

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The Buzz

13 Jul 2018


Editor's Note: California Current will be taking a two-week summer break. The last stories before the break will be posted on July 20. Story posting will resume the week of Aug. 6.

State energy regulators belatedly agree to approve Southern California Edison’s 125 MW of energy efficiency, renewables and energy storage agreements to be developed next year in a constrained sub-basin. The vote marks a victory for alternate resources against traditional fossil-fueled plants...

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Juice: Big Energy Bills on Vacation Hold

10 Jul 2018


Before lawmakers went on their month-long summer break at the end of last week, they advanced a pile of energy legislation that is a mix of the old and new.

Awaiting legislators’ return to the state capitol are significant measures to create full blown expansions of the state’s wholesale energy market, clean energy mandate and direct access for non-residential energy customers. They also will vote later this summer on a measure to curb utilities’ massive wildfire liability, plus lesser measures that continue to grow in-state alternative energy resources...

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The Buzz

28 Jun 2018


The big squeeze from a duo of powerful hedge funds leads Sempra Energy to sell off all of its green portfolio and some of its gas assets. More significantly, this is just the first round of spin offs.

A proposed CPUC settlement would reduce ratepayers’ share of the closure costs of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to approximately $2.2 billion.

In Sacramento, high energy rates are once again leading big energy users to push for making supply deals with non-utility providers...

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The Buzz

21 Jun 2018


Pacific Gas & Electric notifies investors and lenders that it is taking a $2.5 billion loss in the second quarter as a result of mounting wildfire liability, with the worst potentially yet ahead. Meanwhile, a legislative committee in Sacramento advances a bill that may ease utility liability for wildfires.

The California Public Utilities Commission sets resource adequacy requirements for 2019 for a growing list of load-serving entities...

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The Buzz

15 Jun 2018


Grid regionalization is back on the legislative agenda in Sacramento. A freshly amended bill apparently would implode the state’s renewable portfolio standard program.

Interest in the hydrogen highway heats up in both California and Washington. This week’s Juice column finds that the cost of electric power is a key barrier to hydrogen energy right now, but that could change as the California Public Utilities Commission examines how to modify electricity rates to potentially advance the clean fuel...

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JUICE: Cruising the Hydrogen Highway

11 Jun 2018


Fuel cell vehicles, powered by hydrogen made from water and renewable power, have long been the Holy Grail when it comes to creating a clean energy economy.

After decades of effort to push the technology toward commercial reality, fuel cell vehicles are beginning to gain traction with car-makers, energy companies, state officials, and most importantly drivers.

California now sports 5,000 hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles, including cars and public transit buses...

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The Buzz

8 Jun 2018


The feisty Air Resources Board knocks hard on federal regulators' door. The aim is to have a serious discussion with the Trump Administration about plans to knock out California’s tighter greenhouse gas controls for autos.

Other potential bad news for the Golden State is the mega bucks it will cost if Trump et al succeed in baling out coal and nuclear power plants.

At the state level, looming wildfire liability for Pacific Gas & Electric leads it to seek a postponement of its 2020 general rate case filing...

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Juice: Picker’s Picks

5 Jun 2018


Editor's note: Like Grateful Dead archivist Dick Latvala "picked" the band's most energetic concerts for release as albums in his "Dick's Picks" recordings, California Public Utilities Commission President Mike Picker picks the best resources to release energy to the Los Angeles basin's grid to keep the area rockin'.

A proposed decision to deny Southern California Edison ratepayer recovery for 125 MW of local demand response, energy storage and energy efficiency projects in the constrained Los Angeles Basin would be counterproductive if approved...

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The Buzz

31 May 2018


More than $1 billion in electric truck and car charging funding gets the green light.

The California Public Utilities Commission approves the investor-owned power utilities spending $738 million of ratepayer money on EV charging infrastructure, particularly for electric truck and bus chargers.

That authorization follows California air quality regulators directing $423 million to subsidize the clean up of big rig trucks and other heavy-duty diesel vehicles...

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The Buzz

24 May 2018


The California Independent System Operator weighs increasing payments, primarily to battery-based storage. Multiple revenue streams are being considered for energy storage that provides transmission and other services in its markets.

Critics warn that lack of an honest dialogue with the Air Resources Board over excess carbon allowances will cause the state to miss its target for cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels...

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The Buzz

17 May 2018


Utility regulators get big push back on a proposal authorizing the investor-owned electric utilities to spend almost $600 million of ratepayer money on electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Southern California Edison complains it has zippo financial appeal.

Federal energy regulators order Pacific Gas & Electric to settle complaints over $500 million in alleged overcharges in last year’s transmission rates...

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