Archive by Author

Conflict Grows Between SoCal Gas and Ratepayer Advocate

27 Jul

California’s ratepayer advocate asked state regulators to fine SoCal Gas $4.5 million for ignoring a subpoena for financial records showing how much ratepayer money it spent on bogus grassroots efforts to undermine building electrification and other moves to phase out natural gas use. The amount of money the gas utility directed to outside lobbyists could […]

The Buzz

23 Jul

Energy storage is surging in California, with much of it being built next to solar plants. The grid operator board approves giving these complimentary co-located projects a market boost so they can fill the gap in peak supplies over the next three years. After many years, dozens of stakeholders reached an agreement on removing PacifiCorp’s […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]

FERC Unsettles Hard-won Deal to Remove Klamath Dams

23 Jul

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission threw a wrench into the planned demolition of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River straddling California and Oregon. The dams are owned by Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp. Last week, FERC approved a partial transfer of licensing for the 163 MW dams on the lower river, from PacifiCorp to a nonprofit […]

Warren Buffett Bids to Replace SDG&E

21 Jul

San Diego will take formal bids for alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric as its power supplier because of the upcoming expiration of the utility’s franchise agreement with the city. Billionaire Warren Buffet will bid into the city’s solicitation. SDG&E’s 50-year franchise agreement, which allows use of San Diego’s rights-of-way for delivery of electricity […]

News Roundup: Southern CA Utilities Move to Cut Emissions

21 Jul

Southern California Edison committed July 21 to making its car fleet all-electric by the end of the decade. It also pledged to convert nearly a third of its pickups and larger vehicles, 8% of heavy-duty trucks, and 60% of forklifts by the same year, 2030. The utility has 6,200 small and large vehicles. The electrification […]

Sacramento Makes Bold Move to 100% Clean Power by 2030

20 Jul

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board voted unanimously the evening of July 16 for an extremely aggressive carbon neutral power target: 100% in just ten years. Previously the utility had aimed for 2040. California’s all out carbon neutral electricity mandate is set for 2045. “The threat of climate change is too great for anything short […]

Calif.-Quebec Cap & Trading Upheld by Federal Court

20 Jul

A federal district court in California again rejected the Trump Administration claim that the Golden State’s carbon cap-and-trade program with Quebec interfered with federal authority over foreign affairs. “Overall, the United States has failed to identify a clear and express foreign policy that directly conflicts with California’s cap-and-trade program,” the U.S. District Court for the […]

Shorts

20 Jul

The California Coastal Commission on a 10-0 vote approved Southern California Edison’s management plan for its radioactive waste stored at its shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. SCE earlier contracted with Holtec for dry cask spent fuel canisters at the Camp Pendleton site. The agency approved July 16 the utility’s inspection and maintenance activities for […]

The Buzz

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

PG&E Sparked Last Fall’s Kincaid Fire, CalFire Finds

16 Jul

Following an investigation, Cal-Fire concluded July 16 that Pacific Gas & Electric was responsible for starting the Kincaid Fire near Geyserville, in Sonoma County, last October. The fire began Oct. 23 and burned until Nov. 6, destroying 374 structures and scorching nearly 78,000 acres. The announcement comes less than a month after PG&E emerged from […]

Closer Scrutiny for Rising Utility Bills

16 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission July 16 adopted a groundbreaking blueprint for judging the affordability of all essential utility services, from power to water, for struggling ratepayers. No California agency has ever evaluated the reasonableness of combined utility costs for low income customers, who have been hit hard by shelter-at-home rules and resulting unemployment.   […]

FERC to Tighten Dam Safety Rules Post Oroville Collapse, Okays Klamath Dam Removal

16 Jul

Federal regulators proposed updating dam safety requirements in response to the 2017 failure of the spillway at the Oroville Dam and two recent collapses in Michigan. The partial crumbling of Oroville’s spillway, the nation’s highest dam, forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the spillway. The Federal […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

Enviro Groups Try to Head Off Renewable Gas

14 Jul

Rejecting the term “renewable natural gas,” two environmental organizations have issued a report calling the fuel both environmentally and financially unsustainable. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice say that using biogas from landfills and dairies, biomass and synthetic gas in place of electrification does “not provide a path to decarbonizing the gas grid in line with […]

Breakthroughs for Storage at State, Federal Levels

14 Jul

It is proving to be an important time for storage. The California grid operator announced July 13 it has connected the nation’s largest battery array to the grid and that many more megawatts of storage will follow. At the federal level, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals July 10 upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s […]

Shorts

14 Jul

More than one third of California’s electricity last year was fueled by solar, wind and other qualifying renewables under the state’s clean energy mandate. According to the California Energy Commission, 36% of retail electric sales were supplied by renewable resources, exceeding the 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard’s 2020 mandate. “As we move to 100% clean electricity […]

NREL Study Calls for Safe Solar Panel Disposal & Critical Material Recovery

13 Jul

We’re not far into the age of mega solar, but discarded modules are beginning to stack up, and they contain both rare and toxic materials. By 2050, there could be 80 million metric tons of discarded solar panels, according to a new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The average life of a PV […]

The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]