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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 […]

PG&E to Underground 10,000 miles of Power Lines

22 Jul

As the Dixie wildfire in Butte and Plumas counties linked to a tree falling on a remote Pacific Gas & Electric circuit continued to spread, PG&E announced it was taking the unprecedented step of undergrounding 10,000 miles of power lines in high fire danger areas. It estimates the cost at roughly $15-20 billion. It could […]

Studies: Distributed Energy and Efficiency Drive Down Clean Grid Costs

22 Jul

Going gang busters on clean, distributed energy will go a long way towards lowering utility bills as California works towards a decarbonized grid. In addition, energy efficiency further increases the savings in and outside the state. Those are findings in two studies released July 22. Adding rooftop and community solar and solar-plus-storage over the next […]

CAISO Launches Initiative to Better Serve Western Grid, Raises Priority Conflicts

21 Jul

Under recently approved market changes, the California Independent System Operator seeks to double down to protect reliability in the states of the Western Interconnection it serves while guarding the transition to growing levels of variable and distributed renewables. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved CAISO’s interim market mechanisms in late June to allow more efficient […]

Growing Dixie Fire in Feather River Canyon Linked to PG&E Circuit

20 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric told state regulators July 18 that its equipment may have sparked another massive wildfire, this time the ongoing Dixie Fire in the remote Feather River Canyon in Butte and Plumas counties. It started early last week, has burned 60,000 acres, and was only 15% contained as of Tuesday, according to CalFire. […]

Community Aggregators Team Up for 732 MW of Clean Energy

19 Jul

Two community energy organizations in northern California have gone in together on 732 MW of long-term renewables, including new solar-plus-storage projects, set to come online between 2022 and 2024. Central Coast Community Energy (CCCE) and Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) signed joint contracts ranging from 10 to 20 years. They include 66 MW of wind […]

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 […]

CPUC Allows PacifiCorp to Delay Coal Retirement Plan, Eases Economics of Clean Microgrids

19 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission voted without discussion to extend by several months the date by which PacifiCorp must file its plan detailing the retirement of coal plants serving 45,000 California ratepayers. PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. At the same July 15 meeting, the CPUC approved waiving a utility standby capacity […]

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 […]

Controversial CPUC Vote Approves $80M to Each Utility to Increase EV Chargers

15 Jul

On a rare split vote, state utility regulators narrowly approved expediting the three investor-owned utilities ability to spend more ratepayer money on electric transportation infrastructure, this time a total $240 million to ensure there are enough chargers to alleviate the concerns of would-be EV drivers. The state is falling well short of its 2030 goal […]

CPUC Greenlights Klamath Dam Removal and Energy Commission Clean Energy Funding

15 Jul

Western utility company PacifiCorp’s extrication from its ownership of four hydropower dams on the Klamath River is nearly final with an okay by the California Public Utilities Commission to transfer title to a non-profit that will handle the long-planned demolition. Source: Karuk Tribe Commission approval marks its final involvement in the transfer of ownership, allowing […]

Utilities Request to Use Ratepayer Funds for Hydrogen–Natural Gas Blending Project Rejected

15 Jul

Four natural gas utilities’ attempt to get a piece of the innovative clean energy transition in the form of a $32 million reimbursement for blending small amounts of renewal hydrogen into their pipelines got a thumb’s down from the California Public Utility Commission July 15. SoCalGas, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric and […]

SMUD Plans to Beat State Net Zero Carbon Goal by 15 Years

14 Jul

California has mandated its state power providers reach 60% renewables by 2030, but the Sacramento Municipal Utility District plans to supply 100% clean energy by the start of the next decade. That puts it ahead of virtually all other utilities, according to SMUD’s March 2021 Zero Carbon report. Its plan for net zero power supply emissions […]

News Roundup: Solar & Efficiency are Key for Electrification, SCE Launches EV Buildout

13 Jul

Home electrification will raise electric bills and create a serious financial burden unless rooftop solar and energy efficiency are part of the electrification package, California Energy Commission staff and non-profit finance experts said during a July 12 CEC workshop. Installing solar is necessary even where the retrofit includes energy efficiency measures, recent research has found. […]

Oregon Fire Stresses California’s Grid but Blackouts Averted

13 Jul

Updated July 15 Source: Climatechangedispatch.com The worsening Bootleg wildfire in southern Oregon shut off 5,500 MW of power imports from the Northwest, requiring the California grid operator and utilities to call for conservation across the state to protect the grid Friday through Monday. But the California Independent System Operator, which manages the California Oregon Intertie […]

Bills Okaying Cheaper Loans for Storage and EV Chargers, Munis Issuing Customer-Backed Bonds Advance

13 Jul

Energy storage and electric vehicle chargers would become eligible for zero- and low-interest loans under legislation passed out of the Senate Energy Utilities and Communications Committee July 12. The bill expands an existing program run by the California Energy Commission to fund public entities’ energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Two other bills also got […]

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 […]

Will the Shrinking Ratepayer Base be Protected from Gas Utilities’ Sunk Costs?

7 Jul

The move to decarbonize buildings is prompting questions about how gas utilities and their customers will fare in an increasingly electric landscape. Turns out, their fates may diverge. U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Lucas Davis and Associate Professor Catherine Hausman from the University of Michigan found that when the customer base of a […]

Federal Court Upholds Berkeley Gas Ban in New Buildings

7 Jul

A U.S. district court dismissed a lawsuit by the California Restaurant Association challenging the City of Berkeley’s ordinance banning natural gas use in new construction. The plaintiffs said the ban tread on exclusive federal turf. Berkeley’s gas ban is the first of its kind in California. The District Court for the Northern District of California […]

100 MW Battery Project Fills Oxnard Gas Project Void

7 Jul

A 100 MW battery project opened in place of NRG’s proposed 262 MW natural gas-fueled Puente power project near Oxnard in Ventura County. The 400 MWh storage project, which will supply power for up to four hours, is under a 20-year contract with Southern California Edison. It is the second largest battery project in California. […]

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