By Published On: December 2, 2021

On an unusual 3-2 vote, the California Public Utilities Commission approved fining Pacific Gas & Electric $40 million to resolve the 2019 Kincaid Fire in Sonoma County. Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen pointed to PG&E’s “unfortunate misconduct,” including violations of safety rules for failing to remove abandoned lines and transmission facilities during the Dec. 2 meeting. In addition to the penalty, the resolution prohibits PG&E from recovering $85 million from its ratepayers. The Utility Reform Network criticized the deal for being secretive and excluding ratepayers and others. “Unlike prior fire investigations, no other parties were permitted to participate in the discussions; indeed, until the settlement was announced, there was no public knowledge that discussions were underway,” said Mark Toney, TURN executive director. The fire burned 77,000 acres burned, destroyed 374 buildings, and injured four firefighters.

The California Energy Commission and East Bay Community Energy will provide $17.3 million in incentives for publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations, including for installations at shopping centers, gas stations, and apartments in Alameda County. At least half the funds will be invested in struggling and over-burdened communities. The incentives can cover up to 75% of the port’s costs. “As the cost of EV ownership continues to decline, one remaining barrier for customer adoption is access to charging stations,” said Nick Chaset, EBCE Chief Executive Officer. The money is from the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project which focuses on regional charging needs. Applications for rebates may be submitted beginning Dec. 1.

The environmental group Climate Resolve and Tejon Ranch reached a deal to build 19,300 zero-emission homes, the Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 2. The agreement brought to an end a 20-year long dispute. According to the Times, the agreement includes installing about 30,000 electric vehicle chargers and other incentives to support the purchase of 10,500 electric vehicles, school buses and trucks.

The International Energy Agency said 290 GW of renewable were added to the grids around the world. That, number, however, pales in comparison to the 4,800 GW of fossil and nuclear power projects.

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