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The Buzz

22 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric is going to underground a whopping 10,000 miles of power lines in risky fire territory. It made the announcement several days after informing state regulators it may have ignited the Dixie Wildfire in Butte and Plumas counties, which continues to spread. The price tag will be hefty but putting underground lines […]

NREL Software Tool Expedites Clogged Solar Queues, Increases Revenue

19 Jul

The rooftop solar industry announced a major step forward in its longstanding effort to bring down project installation costs with a new app that automates the complicated and time-consuming permit application process for rooftop solar and solar-plus-storage. This SolarAPP+ was developed by the U.S. Department of Energy National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Early uses have streamlined […]

The Buzz

15 Jul

A divided California Public Utilities Commission green lights a $240 million utility electric vehicle charging program to help get the state closer to its 1 million-plus charger target. Two commissioners object, including because they didn’t have time to analyze the newly revised decision that earlier had been pulled off the Thursday agenda. Utility regulators unanimously okay […]

The Buzz

8 Jul

The push to building electrification to slash greenhouse gas emissions is raising concerns that the shrinking base of gas customers will be unfairly burdened with higher utility bills. The issue is the focus of a new U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business paper. Some question why gas utilities aren’t treated like telecom companies, many of […]

Bill Promoting Offshore Wind Advances

6 Jul

Legislation to kick-start offshore wind development in California and fund new low-emissions biomass generating facilities passed the Senate Energy, Communications & Utilities Committee July 5. AB 525 by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco), approved on a 13-0 vote, aims to launch an offshore wind industry in California by directing the California Energy Commission to develop […]

The Buzz

1 Jul

Senate energy bills pass a key Assembly policy committee this week. That includes ones supporting building and vehicle electrification and beefing up the thin ranks of utility fire prevention workforces with Conservation Corps workers who’ve been fighting fires, including those formerly incarcerated. PG&E proposes a massive rate hike, partly to fund ongoing safety work of […]

The Buzz

24 Jun

State utility regulators work through a packed agenda, with approval of Pacific Gas & Electric’s $1.2 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover wildfire costs getting a silent okay, being folded into the California Public Utilities Commission’s consent agenda. Getting public attention at this week’s CPUC meeting are its unanimous approval of an unprecedented mandate for 11,5000 […]

The Buzz

17 Jun

The California grid operator extends the call for conservation from Thursday to Friday evening. Initially, high heat across the West was expected to be the main threat to reliability on June 17 but then 1,100 MW of in-state generation crashes. About the same time, an unscheduled 600 MW of gas plants comes to the California […]

The Buzz

10 Jun

The road to essential carbon neutrality is laden with challenges, requiring more than electrification of vehicles and buildings. Renewable fuels, rates that get EV drivers to charge when the grid is flush, and flexible demand also are key, agency staff say during the first cut of the Air Resources Board’s scoping plan update. It also […]

Microgrid Near Yosemite Provides Power 24/7, Eliminates Line-Sparked Fire Risks

8 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric has launched a new microgrid system powered by a solar array paired with batteries to provide continuous power to a tiny community in a high fire threat area close to Yosemite National Park. The standalone system, which also includes backup propane tanks, is in place of new power lines across mountainous […]

The Buzz

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission tightens utility safety protocols to limit the number and reach of shutoffs this year. Regulators hope to avoid a repeat of the widespread problematic shutoffs in 2019. The commissioners also direct the three private utilities to submit annual shutoff reports. The CPUC proposes an additional fine on Pacific Gas & […]

The Buzz

27 May

Clean local microgrid bills keep moving forward in the Legislature. Also continuing to advance is hotly contested legislation that would add significant costs to net metered solar rooftops. But measures to decarbonize state buildings and promote more renewables fizzle. Find out more in the latest legislative roundup. A big gust is propelling offshore wind energy […]

House Hearing on Transmission Hits California Live Wires

24 May

Barriers to transmission needed for clean energy growth in California and across the country can be overcome, advocates told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis May 20. Wildfires and freezes “have left Americans in the dark and in danger just in the last four months,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), the committee […]

The Buzz

21 May

State regulators require the private utilities to offer to sell renewable portfolio resources to community energy and other providers. Each aggregator and other entity will be offered a proportional share of the resources bought by the utility for its ratepayers that later joined a non utility. But the California Public Utilities Commission 5-0 vote declines […]

CPUC Only Okays Utilities Selling RPS Resources to Community Energy

20 May

Private utilities that purchased renewable resources on behalf of customers that have now switched to community energy must offer that generation to community aggregators and other providers, the California Public Utilities Commission decided May 20. It deferred action on related contentious issues such as how the three investor-owned utilities will sell resources offered for sale […]

FERC Warns of Tight So Cal Gas Supplies, and Risks of Extreme Heat and Fires

20 May

It’s not just California regulators who are worried about the supply of electricity in the state and the West this summer. Federal regulators also are watching resource reliability and potential peak demand. In addition to drought and high wildfire risk, Southern California faces the additional problem of tight gas supplies, according to the Federal Energy […]

The Buzz

13 May

Additional resources give the California Independent System Operator more confidence in this summer’s grid. More than half will come online as the sun sets and air conditioners fire up. The grid operator also points to other resources in the event of intense peak demand if there is another whopper heat wave across the West. The […]

The Buzz

7 May

Pacific Gas & Electric’s $7.5 billion bond issuance gets final approval. Regulators sign off on its financing order, which includes oversight by a finance team tasked with protecting customers. Ratepayer advocates welcome the oversight on condition it is robust, but object to the legal basis of the approved ratepayer-backed securitization. San Diego Gas & Electric […]

The Buzz

29 Apr

State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its […]

Community Energy Helps Cover Legacy Costs. It Now Could Get Something in Return

27 Apr

Changes continue to ripple in California from the rise of community aggregators. A bill passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee April 26 that would allow community energy and direct access providers to count the attributes of the power in private utility legacy resources toward their renewable energy and supply cushion requirements. […]

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