Big clean energy grants and green bonds, more diesel

By Published On: December 9, 2021

California utility regulator Martha Guzman Aceves will be named U.S. EPA Region 9 head.

The California Energy Commission approves $730 million for clean energy research and development in one fell swoop. Most of the grant money is for reducing emissions from the most polluting sector, transportation. But what it gives it also takes away.

CEC commissioners and earlier utility regulators okay even more diesel backup on the stated presumption it will be used minimally. Recent experience shows otherwise. This week’s editorial questions the high health and environmental costs of adding more diesel units when clean alternatives are available.

Community energy is thriving and keeps adding more clean power. But the downside is that it keeps coming up against volatile investor-owned utility exit fees, which affect rates and reserves.

More than $2 billion in long-term bonds are issued to reduce the cost of existing and prospective renewable contracts for a trio of community aggregators. They take a page from the municipal power agencies’ playbook that uses tax-exempt bonds to lower the cost of natural gas. The aggregators use them instead to prepay for non-fossil power agreements.

The possibility of LA becoming a green hydrogen hub brightens with big federal bucks on the table and strategies to lower costs and other high hurdles.

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