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The Buzz

22 Apr

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 […]

New Issue at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant Raises Specter of Energy Crisis

22 Apr

A new problem has surfaced at the troubled Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant Unit 2, forcing it offline again this week. The 1,150 MW unit has suffered four crashes the last several months because of ongoing problems in the unit’s electric generator. Those have occurred since a $100 million rebuild in 2019. “The current work […]

The Buzz

15 Apr

State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E’s certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of […]

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 […]

The Buzz

8 Apr

A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to […]

The Buzz

1 Apr

Changes wrought by the pandemic upend the legislative session, once again. After little action on the committee hearing front for weeks, bill hearings are getting back on track. See the list of bills being taken up in the Assembly and Senate energy committees in this week’s Juice column. California Community Choice continues to grow, as […]

The Buzz

25 Mar

State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission’s second emergency plan okays […]

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 […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

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 […]

FERC First: Greenhouse Gas Impacts of a Gas Pipeline Evaluated

18 Mar

Federal energy regulators took the unprecedented step of requiring an analysis of the greenhouse gas impacts of a gas pipeline certification. They also voted to remove market barriers to distributed energy resources during their March 18 meeting. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Rich Glick said the vote to consider greenhouse gas impacts into decision-making removes […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

Unpaid Utility Bills Soar, as Does Need to Protect Black and other Vulnerable Ratepayers

11 Mar

Private and public utilities across the country are grappling with the pandemic-driven surge in unpaid utility bills. In California alone, arrearages from last February through December exceeded $1 billion for the private utilities, more than double pre-pandemic levels. “Clearly the energy crisis was already staring us down before the pandemic,” Gabriella Sandoval, The Utility Reform […]

The Buzz

4 Mar

A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks 7,500 MW of additional resources starting in 2024. Of that amount, 2,000 MW would be non-fossil. The resources are to make up for the closing Diablo nuclear plant and old inefficient gas-powered plants. But it is much more than meets the eye. East Bay Community Energy and OhmConnect […]

Offshore Wind Power Coming to California

1 Mar

Offshore wind power is heading the Golden State’s way, first to serve the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a panel of energy experts at a California Community Choice Association webinar said Feb. 26. This renewable technology has already gained favor in Europe, Asia, and on the East Coast of the U.S. The Redwood Coast authority project […]

The Buzz

25 Feb

The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy’s reported income goes the opposite direction. While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, […]

Rising Rates Drown Equity and Decarbonization

25 Feb

The burden of continually rising utility bills will derail California’s decarbonization work if left unaddressed, regulators, economists and ratepayer advocates warn. The rising costs are bearing down on struggling customers who’ve been hit hard by pandemic-driven job losses and sheltering at home. Higher bills undermine California’s equity policy goals and jeopardize the state’s clean energy […]

SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb

Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws. […]

The Buzz

18 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power. Soaring demand in Texas, frozen power plants, and massive […]

JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb

Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall. Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of […]

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 […]

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