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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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

SCE Wants Another $1B in Ratepayer-Backed Bonds

29 Jun

Southern California Edison filed its second application to issue ratepayer-recovery bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital spending as well as losses from utility bills that went unpaid during the pandemic. SCE’s $1 billion bond request filed June 23 is the first utility application that includes recovery of arrearages from unpaid bills because of […]

Faster Permits for Installing Vehicle Chargers Focus of Bill

11 May

Legislation to speed up plodding local permitting for home vehicle chargers and commercial charging stations to ensure 250,000 chargers are installed in California by 2025 is on the Assembly Floor. AB 970 by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would deem a permit application approved 25 days after submission unless city or […]

Newsom Proposes $2B for Ratepayer Bill Relief

11 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced May 10 that $2 billion in relief will be distributed among Californians having difficulty paying their electricity, gas, and water bills–an estimated 800,000 customers. A moratorium on utility disconnections for failure to pay is set to expire next month, but many residents continue to struggle financially largely because of the pandemic. […]

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 […]

RPS Costs Increased Last Year, CPUC Says

5 May

The average cost of non-fossil resources bought by private utilities, community energy and other providers pursuant to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard rose last year compared to 2019. But they still remain low. That’s according to a new California Public Utilities Commission report. It attributes the cost increase to an expansion of renewable purchases beyond solar […]

Feds Advance Giant Desert Solar Project

4 May

The Bureau of Land Management gave a green light to a 350 MW solar project on 2,049 acres of federal land near Blythe in Riverside County May 3. Late last year, Southern California Edison contracted for 200 MW from this Crimson photovoltaic project to fuel an adjacent 200 MW battery project as part of SCE’s […]

SCE’s and SDG&E’s Earnings Rise, PG&E’s Fall

4 May

Updated May 5 Pacific Gas & Electric Corp: the parent company of the utility, reported a considerable drop in first quarter earnings, $120 million, or 6 cents a share. That contrasts to $371 million, or 57 cents a share, for the first quarter of 2020. On the utility side, PG&E’s first quarter earnings were $174 […]

One Clean Microgrid Bill Sails Ahead, Challenges Ahead for Another with Buried Cable

20 Apr

Local agencies would get needed guidance on the best places to site clean, stand-alone microgrids under a bill that’s gaining traction. Passing out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee on a 12-0 vote April 19, SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) also comes with money for the microgrids and emphasizes their siting […]

California Prepares for Worsening Wildfires

13 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law April 13 a legislative package providing $536 million in emergency funding for wildfire prevention and response. “California is taking bold, early action to protect our high-risk communities from the upcoming wildfire season before it starts,” Newsom said. Proceeds from the state’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade program and its General Fund provided […]

Cool Roofs for Dummies

8 Apr

Cool roofs use light-reflecting roofing materials or coatings and are a simple and accessible means for individuals and communities to directly reduce carbon emissions, energy costs, and urban heat island effects.  Source: Owens Corning cool roof Project Drawdown, a global effort to drawdown carbon emissions, estimates that cool roofs, along with green roofs (where roofs […]

Committee Votes to Keep Redondo Beach Plant Online Another Two Years

29 Mar

Over strong community objections, a multi-state agency advisory board recommended March 26 postponing once again the closing of the nearly 70-year-old coastal Redondo Beach power plant in Southern California. This time until the end of 2023. The 834 megawatts from the AES coastal natural gas units, which use seawater to cool spinning turbines, are needed […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

Energy Commission Code Update Proposes More Electric Appliances in New Buildings

16 Mar

The latest edition of the California Energy Commission’s influential energy efficiency code does not include a mandate for all-electric new buildings. That is despite a new joint agency report on the path to a 100% clean energy concluding that decarbonizing energy use in new and existing buildings “is a key climate-fighting strategy.” The 2022 Title […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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