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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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The Buzz

18 Mar 2021


The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch.

After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for the first time. Requiring grid operators to allow a mix of distributed resources to participate in their markets also is approved...

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FERC First: Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Gas Pipeline Evaluated

18 Mar 2021


Federal energy regulators took the unprecedented step of requiring an analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a gas pipeline certification. They also voted to remove market barriers to distributed energy resources during their March 18 meeting.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick said the vote to consider greenhouse gas impacts into decision-making removes the “blinders” the Commission has been wearing to requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Natural Gas Act...

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The Buzz

11 Mar 2021


Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing.

The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California.

Utility regulators across the country seek to resolve the dilemma of unpaid utility bills that have spiked during the pandemic...

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Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar 2021


Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels.

“Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform Network director of strategic investments, said...

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The Buzz

4 Mar 2021


A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye.

East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect team up to use the latter customers’ negawatts to reduce EBCE’s peak demand when prices and pollution are high...

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Offshore Wind Power Coming to California

1 Mar 2021


Offshore wind power is heading the Golden State's way, first to serve the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a panel of energy experts at a California Community Choice Association webinar said Feb. 26. This renewable technology has already gained favor in Europe, Asia, and on the East Coast of the U.S.

The Redwood Coast authority project is expected to be operational as early as 2027. It will supply 120-150 MW of wind power from floating turbines that will be moored about 25 miles off the coast of Eureka...

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The Buzz

25 Feb 2021


The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy's reported income goes the opposite direction.

While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, and ratepayer representatives warn that ever-rising rates will be the undoing of equity and clean energy in California...

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SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb 2021


Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws.

SCE issued three tranches of AAA-rated bonds backed 100% by ratepayers, with an overall maturity of 23 years...

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The Buzz

18 Feb 2021


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a "humanitarian crisis." FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power.

Soaring demand in Texas,

frozen power plants, and massive outages, impact California. Frozen gas wells in the Lone Star State cause natural gas prices in Southern California to soar...

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JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb 2021


Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall.

Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of the approximately 1.3 million residences equipped with photovoltaic solar systems, about 15%--or 30,000, include battery storage...

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The Buzz

11 Feb 2021


The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options.

Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities plan to make under their 2021-22 wildfire mitigation plans...

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Utility Regulators Grapple with $1B+ in Unpaid Energy Bills

11 Feb 2021


The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring options for paying off the more than $1.15 billion in unpaid utility bills that has accumulated during the pandemic.

“The numbers are pretty horrendous,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said Feb. 11 of the arrearages for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and SoCalGas through the end of last year...

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The Buzz

4 Feb 2021


State regulatory staff propose further crimping demand response, much to the dismay of advocates of these behind-the-meter resources. Making matters worse for them is the disparity in treatment between DR and fossil power plants.

The City of San Diego plans to issue a second request for bids for electricity and gas services because the long-time holder of the franchise agreement was the sole bidder during the first round...

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CA Community Energy Offers Roadmap for Cities Across the U.S.

2 Feb 2021


A recent report from UCLA finds the phenomenal growth of community choice aggregation in California offers a template for other states interested in advancing local clean energy. And the possibilities grow under a climate protection-friendly president.

“In California, CCAs have become an effective tool at enabling local climate action,” a report by the Luskin Center for Innovation says. The CCAs spur investment in energy efficiency and electric vehicle charging programs, “tailored to the needs of their communities,” according to The Role of Community Choice Aggregators in Advancing Clean Energy Transitions report...

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The Buzz

28 Jan 2021


Tis the season for new legislation and among the new bills is one setting a financial bar for major companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, big businesses would be required to report both direct and indirect carbon emissions. Other legislation would curb gas use in new buildings, seek to grow green hydrogen and recycle out-of-commission solar panels.

Southern California Edison’s 16 outages last year were not so sweet, according to regulators...

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The Buzz

22 Jan 2021


Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green hydrogen. But hurdles remain.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has a new chair...

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