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The Buzz

10 Jun 2021


The road to essential carbon neutrality is laden with challenges, requiring more than electrification of vehicles and buildings. Renewable fuels, rates that get EV drivers to charge when the grid is flush, and flexible demand also are key, agency staff say during the first cut of the Air Resources Board’s scoping plan update.

It also is a slow road to installing all the needed chargers to support the goal of getting millions of electric vehicle drivers in California...

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Microgrid Near Yosemite Provides Power 24/7, Eliminates Line-Sparked Fire Risks

8 Jun 2021


Pacific Gas & Electric has launched a new microgrid system powered by a solar array paired with batteries to provide continuous power to a tiny community in a high fire threat area close to Yosemite National Park. The standalone system, which also includes backup propane tanks, is in place of new power lines across mountainous terrain in the town of Briceburg, off of Highway 140 in Mariposa County...

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The Buzz

3 Jun 2021


The California Public Utilities Commission tightens utility safety protocols to limit the number and reach of shutoffs this year. Regulators hope to avoid a repeat of the widespread problematic shutoffs in 2019. The commissioners also direct the three private utilities to submit annual shutoff reports.

The CPUC proposes an additional fine on Pacific Gas & Electric of $20 million for havoc wreaked when it cut off power to a million customers two years ago...

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The Buzz

27 May 2021


Clean local microgrid bills keep moving forward in the Legislature. Also continuing to advance is hotly contested legislation that would add significant costs to net metered solar rooftops. But measures to decarbonize state buildings and promote more renewables fizzle. Find out more in the latest legislative roundup.

A big gust is propelling

offshore wind energy development in California. A new agreement with the federal government removes Department of Defense hurdles to floating turbines being sited off the coast of Central and Northern California...

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House Hearing on Transmission Hits California Live Wires

24 May 2021


Barriers to transmission needed for clean energy growth in California and across the country can be overcome, advocates told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis May 20.

Wildfires and freezes “have left Americans in the dark and in danger just in the last four months,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), the committee chair, said opening the session. Drought and new fires are raising fears of “another long and brutal fire season” in the West, she added...

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The Buzz

21 May 2021


State regulators require the private utilities to offer to sell renewable portfolio resources to community energy and other providers. Each aggregator and other entity will be offered a proportional share of the resources bought by the utility for its ratepayers that later joined a non utility. But the California Public Utilities Commission 5-0 vote declines to direct that the resource adequacy as well as the greenhouse gas free attributes of the resources also be put up for sale...

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CPUC Only Okays Utilities Selling RPS Resources to Community Energy

20 May 2021


Private utilities that purchased renewable resources on behalf of customers that have now switched to community energy must offer that generation to community aggregators and other providers, the California Public Utilities Commission decided May 20. It deferred action on related contentious issues such as how the three investor-owned utilities will sell resources offered for sale but not accepted...

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FERC Warns of Tight So Cal Gas Supplies, and Risks of Extreme Heat and Fires

20 May 2021


It’s not just California regulators who are worried about the supply of electricity in the state and the West this summer. Federal regulators also are watching resource reliability and potential peak demand. In addition to drought and high wildfire risk, Southern California faces the additional problem of tight gas supplies, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s 2021 Summer Assessment released May 20...

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The Buzz

13 May 2021


Additional resources give the California Independent System Operator more confidence in this summer’s grid. More than half will come online as the sun sets and air conditioners fire up. The grid operator also points to other resources in the event of intense peak demand if there is another whopper heat wave across the West.

The California Energy Commission continues to go gang busters on clean energy grants...

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The Buzz

7 May 2021


Pacific Gas & Electric's $7.5 billion bond issuance gets final approval. Regulators sign off on its financing order, which includes oversight by a finance team tasked with protecting customers. Ratepayer advocates welcome the oversight on condition it is robust, but object to the legal basis of the approved ratepayer-backed securitization.

San Diego Gas & Electric chances of continuing to be the sole provider of gas and electricity to the City of San Diego rise...

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The Buzz

29 Apr 2021


State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its credit metrics.

Energy storage continues to increase...

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Community Energy Helps Cover Legacy Costs. It Now Could Get Something in Return

27 Apr 2021


Changes continue to ripple in California from the rise of community aggregators. A bill passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities

& Communication

Committee April 26 that would allow community energy and direct access providers to count the attributes of the power in private utility legacy resources toward their renewable energy and supply cushion requirements. These groups pay a proportional share of these legacy supplies, but do not benefit from them...

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The Buzz

22 Apr 2021


State regulators green light Pacific Gas & Electric’s whopping $7.5 billion ratepayer-backed bond proposal to cover its 2017 fire liability. The tab soars to $11 million when adding in the interest, which PG&E promises to repay over 30 years but with no guarantees. Consumer advocates are appalled. One calls the decision “reprehensible.”

A new issue crops up at PG&E’s problematic Diablo nuclear plant's Unit 2, forcing it offline...

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New Issue at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Raises Specter of Energy Crisis

22 Apr 2021


A new problem has surfaced at the troubled Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2, forcing it offline again this week. The 1,150 MW unit has suffered four crashes the last several months because of ongoing problems in the unit’s electric generator. Those have occurred since a $100 million rebuild in 2019.

“The current work involves adjustments to the cooling system within the main electrical generator and is not related to the earlier vibration issue,” Suzanne Hosn, Pacific Gas & Electric spokesperson, wrote in an April 21 email to Current...

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The Buzz

15 Apr 2021


State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E's certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of the utility’s fire mitigation work, as expected.

The CPUC also approves San Diego Gas & Electric expanding its program to install EV chargers in poor communities and workplaces...

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CEC Okays Big Green Energy Grants, More Diesel Backup Looms

14 Apr 2021


The California Energy Commission approved $73 million in grants for clean energy projects, ranging from advanced communications within batteries for fast electric vehicle charging, flexible demand response, to green microgrids.

The five commissioners also moved closer April 14 to voting on two more big diesel backup generator projects at data centers. The decisive vote on whether to exempt the generators from state permitting hasn’t been scheduled yet...

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The Buzz

8 Apr 2021


A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to put its money where its mouth is and mandate all electric construction to slash natural gas use...

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The Buzz

1 Apr 2021


Changes wrought by the pandemic upend the legislative session, once again. After little action on the committee hearing front for weeks, bill hearings are getting back on track. See the list of bills being taken up in the Assembly and Senate energy committees in this week's Juice column.

California Community Choice continues to grow, as predicted. More than 200 cities and counties were served by the alternative electricity providers as of April 1...

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The Buzz

25 Mar 2021


State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission's second emergency plan okays paying for diesel backup in the event of excess demand, largely impacting disadvantaged communities...

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FERC Keeps Diablo Closure on Track, PG&E Seeks to Delay Possible Ratepayer Relief

23 Mar 2021


Federal energy regulators shot down a petition aimed at stopping the upcoming retirement of Pacific Gas & Electric’s 2,240 MW Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. The complaint by Californians for Green Nuclear Power also targeted the California grid operator and other agencies. It asserted that by allowing the plant shutdown the entities failed to protect the bulk power system, in violation of the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act...

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