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Federal Regulators Take Steps to Lower Utility Incentives, Integrate State Carbon Pricing

15 Apr

Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree on the need for better transmission efficiency and a build out of high voltage lines. But the five commissioners strongly disagree on incentives for utilities that participate in independent and regional transmission organizations, which are responsible for grid modernizations. To protect ratepayers, FERC proposed April 15 on […]

CEC Okays Big Green Energy Grants, More Diesel Backup Looms

14 Apr

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 […]

Bioenergy and Efficiency Rebate Bills Pass Key Committee

8 Apr

The California Assembly seems increasingly interested in electricity made from different forms of so-called biowaste. Legislation to promote the use of bioenergy as an alternative to the open burning of crop and forestry waste passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 7. The bill also would fund the reduction of methane releases from dairies […]

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

23 Mar

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 […]

CPUC Pledges Fast Decision on Unpaid Energy Bills

9 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to expeditiously handle some $600 million in energy utility bill arrearages that have accumulated since the beginning of the pandemic. The full commission would make a decision on how to address the late payments by June 24. That would be just days before a moratorium on service shutoffs is […]

Roundup: East Bay to Offset Peak Load w/ Negawatts Reaped Elsewhere

4 Mar

East Bay Community Energy signed a deal with home energy management company OhmConnect to apply 25 MW in aggregated energy reductions to EBCE’s peak load during evening hours as solar power diminishes. It’s a novel demand response arrangement. The transaction does not sign up EBCE customer into the ‘negawatt’ program but instead taps into the […]

SCE Seeks to Curb Shutoffs this Summer

2 Mar

Southern California Edison believes its latest summer grid hardening plan will avoid a repeat of last year’s 16 public safety shutoffs, utility representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission March 1. SCE was required to submit a corrective action plan last month to the CPUC after getting raked over the coals during a Jan. 26 […]

FERC Chair: Texas Outages a “Humanitarian Crisis,” Agency Opens Door to Enviro Justice

18 Feb

The massive days-long power outage caused by frigid weather across Texas and the Midwest, resulting in numerous deaths, is a “humanitarian crisis,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick declared. He and his fellow commissioner urged against pointing fingers at any one energy resource causing the power shortages, whether gas plants or wind turbines, at […]

Bills to Ban Fracking, Create Offshore Wind Industry Introduced

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 Legislation that would ban the practice of fracking to extract natural gas and oil from many wells was announced Feb. 17 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara). The ban would affect new wells and those up for renewal starting Jan. 1, 2022. SB 467 also would […]

The Buzz

11 Feb

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 […]

CEC Funds Plug-in Load Curbs, Alt Batteries and Better Forecasting, Waives PV Mandate

10 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved $6 million in grants this week for projects reducing commercial and residential load from computers, cell phones and other plug-in devices, innovative battery technologies, and for improved distributed energy resource forecasting. At its Feb. 10 meeting, the commissioners also unanimously agreed to exempt two cities from state requirements that photovoltaics […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

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

2 Feb

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 […]

New Bill Expands Climate Emissions Reporting

28 Jan

Legislation introduced by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) would require large companies that do business in California to publicly disclose their onsite and offsite greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2024. It would apply to companies that make $1 billion or more in revenue, The reporting requirement has no emissions threshold and includes businesses not covered […]

Notable New Appointments by Biden Administration, Including New FERC Chair

21 Jan

On his second day in office, President Joe Biden named Rich Glick chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I am honored that President Biden has shown the confidence in me to lead the agency at this critical moment in time,” Chair Glick said Jan. 21. Until mid-December, Glick was the sole Democrat member on […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Correction made Jan. 21 Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in continuous service for several more weeks. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

News Roundup: New CPUC Executive Director

6 Jan

The California Public Utilities Commission named a new executive director to replace the former chief Alice Stebbins, who was fired in August. Rachel Peterson, who has been the Acting Executive Director, became the new director Jan. 5. “It is a great move for the CPUC,” Arthur O’Donnell, energy analyst and journalist, and former CPUC staffer, […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

Shorts

5 Jan

Peninsula Clean Energy signed three contracts for 245 MW of wind energy Jan. 5, running seven to 20 years. To hit its 100% renewable goal set for 2025, Peninsula needs “significant contributions from wind energy,” Peninsula Clean Energy CEO Jan Pepper said. The deals include a 20-year agreement with NextEra Energy Resources for 30 MW […]

Cal Advocate Says SoCalGas Deserves Large Fine

15 Dec

The Public Advocates Office urged the California Public Utilities Commission to fine SoCalGas $124 million on claims it continued to use ratepayer funds to undermine state and federal gas efficiency rules, after it was prohibited from doing so. The standards apply to buildings and appliances. In May 2018, the Commission forbade the gas utility from […]

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