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Budget Committee Eyeing Governor’s EV Charging Spending

24 Feb

A Senate Budget Subcommittee is scrutinizing the governor’s nearly $1.5 billion proposal to fund largely electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations. It includes $1 billion of continuous appropriations over many years, raising eyebrows. Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), subcommittee chair, objected to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal of recurring annual appropriations for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle stations […]

Biden Keeps Desert Renewable Plan Intact

18 Feb

The Biden Administration blocked the former Trump Administration’s last minute effort to weaken protections in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. The proposed changes would have reduced protection of 2.2 million acres of rocky peaks, salt scrub lowlands and rich riparian corridors and other sensitive desert by allowing mining and other industrial uses. It also […]

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 […]

Energy Commission Attorney Named to CPUC

9 Feb

Darcie Houck, the California Energy Commission’s chief counsel since 2019, was appointed to the California Public Utilities Commission, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Feb. 9. She fills the vacancy left by Liane Randolph, who became the California Air Resources Board’s new chief at the beginning of this year. Prior to serving as the Energy Commission head […]

The Buzz

28 Jan

Tis the season for new legislation and among the new bills is one setting a financial bar for major companies to report their greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, big businesses would be required to report both direct and indirect carbon emissions. Other legislation would curb gas use in new buildings, seek to grow green hydrogen […]

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 […]

State Electricity Demand Projected to Remain Flat

26 Jan

In its latest forecast for the coming decade, the California Energy Commission projects statewide demand won’t return to 2019 levels before 2023. The combination of layoffs and work from home have reduced commercial and industrial electrical load. That lower demand is expected to endure even accounting for projected increases in zero emission vehicles, which will […]

Energy Commission Hesitates on Large Diesel Array; Okays More Bans on Nat Gas

26 Jan

In a sign of possible increasing scrutiny of new diesel backup generators, the California Energy Commission postponed a vote on whether the Sequoia Data Center project in Santa Clara should be allowed to install 54 diesel-fired units without a state license. The postponement of the exemption for the 99 MW diesel backup project comes just […]

The Buzz

22 Jan

Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green […]

Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

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 […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

Final Blackout Study Calls for More Reserves, Warns of Diablo & Pacific Line Risk

14 Jan

Details on the key causes of the mid-August blackouts are out, and consistent with an earlier analysis. They highlight market and planning flaws and a system thin on the cushion of extra power, or resource adequacy, the grid requires. The final analysis also points to an acute concern over two scenarios: a sudden loss of […]

Shorts

12 Jan

The Public Advocates Office announced it saved California ratepayers more than $3 billion in utility rates last year. “The impacts of COVID-19 and the increasing frequency of wildfires have made our advocacy that much more important for Californians,” Elizabeth Echols, Director of CalAdvocates, said Jan. 11. She stressed the need for affordable safe utility services–from […]

Newsom Proposes $2.5B for Electric Transportation & Fire Mitigation

11 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposes spending more than $1.5 billion to accelerate electric and other non-fossil fueled vehicles and charging stations, particularly in polluted poor communities. He also plans to direct another $1 billion to reduce wildfire risks in high threat areas—forests and communities.  Newsom’s proposal released Jan. 8 highlights significant exacerbation of climate […]

The Buzz

7 Jan

Three is not a charm for Pacific Gas & Electric. Its problematic 1,150 MW Unit 2 at its Diablo nuclear plant is down for a third time because of a new issue. The soonest it will be back online is the end of May. A quintet of community energy agencies receive solid credit ratings, which […]

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 […]

The Buzz

10 Dec

Liane Randolph, who has been at the California Public Utilities Commission for the last five years is making a big move. She is the next Air Resources Board chair, replacing Mary Nichols, who may head to Washington DC. Southern California Edison signs another big round of energy storage deals this week. That includes 585 MW […]

CEC Grants Aim to Drive Hydrogen Vehicles

10 Dec

The California Energy Commission Dec. 9 unanimously approved $33 million in funding for alternative transportation projects, including almost $25 million in grants for the installation of hydrogen refueling stations. Another $8 million grant was awarded to the Air Resources Board to help expand its program aimed at improving mobility options in struggling communities. Three grants […]

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