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. That happens two days before the California Public Utilities Commission’s unprecedented approval of its bankruptcy debt refinancing.

The grid operator board okays a 2021 summer initiative to keep in-state resources from going out of state when temperatures and demand spike. Some of California’s neighboring grids and utilities object to California putting itself head of the load line.

The Senate and Assembly energy committees approve key bills this week, including ones to create an offshore wind industry and pay home batteries to support the grid.

One Senate bill to advance clean community microgrids that provides struggling agencies needed funding and technical know-how gets bipartisan support. Another measure promoting non-polluting microgrids, along with undergrounding of lines in high-risk fire areas to keep power flowing during power shutoffs, is far less popular.

Legislation and proposed regulations to decarbonize buildings get the thumbs down from workers’ unions and gas utilities, which would be affected by the change. Two new bills to increase home electrification, including by funding building decarbonization, and speeding up home energy panel upgrades, pass over the strong opposition.

The price tag of President Biden’s groundbreaking $2 billion plan to clean the grid by 2035 is breath taking but so too is the cost of the last year’s nearly two dozen disasters. While the details have to be worked out, raising the corporate tax would go a long way towards paying to protect the nation from the climate crisis.

The debate continues over the fair price for surplus power from home rooftop solar to avoid unfair cost shifts but not undermine the industry and billions of dollars California has invested in solar rooftops.

And more…

The Editors

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