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.

The California Energy Commission continues approving millions of dollars in grants to existing and emerging clean energy projects. Big awards go to clean trucks, technologies to reduce data center energy use, and promote hydrogen-fueled marine vessels and alternative battery technologies. 

In spite of big grants routinely awarded for clean energy, the CEC’s latest building efficient code update proposal does not require new buildings to be all electric. It does push hard on having electric heat pumps replace gas water and space heaters. It also would expand the solar rooftop mandate and require prewiring for battery systems.

State energy and air quality regulators first estimate of what it will take to attain a grid powered by 100% clean energy in 2045 is breath taking. The report by the CPUC, Energy Commission and Air Resources Board concludes it will take three times more resources. And the cost? It is big and hazy because of the unknowns about the fate of emerging renewable technologies.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers approve legislation advancing green hydrogen and solidifying the utility programs paying industrial and commercial customers to cut their load during power shortages.

And more…

The Editors

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