The California Public Utilities Commission approved spending $4.6 million of ratepayer money to fund a Southern California Edison coal gasification project. Edison is a member of a 30-member organization in the Southwest working on so called “clean coal” technologies. The money will support a coal gasification project that splits off hydrogen and carbon monoxide, using the hydrogen to fuel a power plant. The technology is not yet commercially viable. “There is some financial risk,” noted commissioner Rachelle Chong, who approved the proposal. She agreed to vote for the plan after it was revised to require Edison to line up matching funds, and after the costs were spread beyond Edison ratepayers because of possible statewide benefits. Regulators also approved a 10-year wind deal between Pacific Gas & Electric and enXco, a French wind company that has wind farms in Solano County. PG&E is set to receive 500 GWh a year from the windmills, which are expected to be on line at the end of this year. The project received local approval but was stalled because of late concerns from the Travis Air Force Base. The Air Force feared the project would interfere with its new radar system but signed off on the deal last month, according to the CPUC. The project is eligible for federal production tax credits. The credits expire at the end of this year but agreement on their renewal is close at hand, with the U.S. Senate’s April 10 agreement to extend them. The commission also agreed to terminate ratepayer-funded public goods charges to cover costly renewable projects to carry out the mandates of SB 1036. The law requires that supplemental renewable energy payments no longer be collected and that the funds accumulated, estimated to be $461 million, be sent back to ratepayers.