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Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

CA Prepares to Rely More on Microgrids

7 Jul

Updated July 8 California is trying to deploy microgrids as fast as possible to prevent blackouts during wildfires and power shutoffs. The push going forward is to find out how to make them pencil out, bring them into the 21st century and make them environmentally friendly. “We have got to get cleaner and quieter backup,” […]

The Buzz

25 Jun

California sets the nation’s first statewide mandate to electrify medium- and heavy-duty trucks beginning in 2024. State energy regulators and utilities will play key roles in the success of the transition away from polluting diesel trucks to electrified ones by getting needed charging infrastructure built. The California Public Utilities Commission expands the local resources adequacy […]

California Mandates Electric Trucks

25 Jun

The California Air Resources Board voted nearly unanimously June 25 to require that at least 100,000 trucks on California roads, three quarter ton and heavier, be electric by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gases and diesel pollution. Five years later, the number is to grow to 300,000 zero emission trucks under the Advanced Clean Truck rule. […]

Air Board Set to Adopt Electric Truck Rule

23 Jun

The California Air Resources Board is expected to approve the first statewide clean truck standard in the country June 25. The Advanced Clean Truck Rule is to have half the trucks sold in California be electric by 2030. That is estimated to result in 100,000 alternatively fueled trucks on the roads by the end of […]

CA Gas Utilities Produce Cutting Edge Clean Biogas

23 Jun

SoCal Gas and Pacific Gas & Electric announced June 22 a significant breakthrough in a new electrochemical technology that converts carbon dioxide in raw biogas to renewable natural gas that can be put into pipelines. It is a “critical improvement in the science of upgrading waste emissions to renewable gas,” according to the utilities. This […]

Humboldt Towns Protected Against Shutoffs, Locals Say the Change is Overdue

16 Jun

When power is deliberately shut off to avoid fires amid high wind in Pacific Gas & Electric territory, 20 cities along the North Coast won’t have to worry. That is because PG&E reconfigured its 163 MW natural gas fired power plant in Humboldt County so it can disconnect from the grid and continue supplying the […]

The Buzz

11 Jun

After months of few energy items on the California Public Utilities Commission business meeting agendas, this week’s one is dense, and action packed. After honoring the death of George Floyd, the five utility regulators approve Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to install diesel-fueled generators to provide power during safety outages. The CPUC also signs off […]

Packed CPUC Agenda Includes Approving PG&E Diesel Backup

11 Jun

State utility regulators June 11 addressed the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop and continued systematic racism near and far, including at the California Public Utilities Commission. They also held 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence to remember Floyd’s death on May 25. Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma said that while the five commissioners […]

JUICE: Falling Off the Clean Energy Wagon

9 Jun

Updated June 11 Since the start of this century, California has been working to wean the electricity sector off addictive and harmful fossil-fueled generation. A homegrown 12-step recovery program has produced impressive strides. But key players, and Pacific Gas & Electric in particular, are allowed to fall off the wagon. State energy regulators approved June […]

The Buzz

4 Jun

Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to reduce wildfire threats and safety outages is half empty or half full, depending on your perspective. While the CPUC President says she is optimistic about the improvements in the 2020 plan, she has doubts about it being successfully implemented. In spite of the concerns, none are raised about its […]

Success of PG&E’s Wildfire Plan Iffy, Lawmakers Told

4 Jun

With the threat of wildfires approaching, lawmakers wanted details on Pacific Gas & Electric’s mitigation plans, including how it will reduce the impacts of its public safety shutoffs during hot and windy conditions. Rachel Peterson, deputy director of the California Public Utilities Commission, reported to the Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee that PG&E was […]

Diesel and Gas Backup Generator Bills Advance

1 Jun

Two bills promoting the use of diesel and natural gas fueled backup generation during planned safety outages passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee May 27. SB 1099 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) relieves hospitals and other critical facilities that fire up diesel generators during power outages of any threat–real or perceived–that they will be fined […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

CA Budget Plan Adds Funds for Fire Protection but Subtracts for Climate

14 May

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest spending blueprint for 2020 to 2021 increases funding for wildfire prevention and safeguards funds for reducing the impacts of power shutoffs despite a $54 billion deficit created by the pandemic. The bad news on the climate front is that the latest proposal eliminates the five-year $4.75 billion Climate Resiliency Bond slated […]

Home Power Use Continues to Rise, Overall Demand Falls

12 May

Residential electricity use rose 12.4% last month statewide, while total use fell 9% compared to April 2019, as the changes resulting from stay at home orders settled in. That’s according to a California Energy Commission report released May 12. In March, home electricity use increased 8.9%, but total use dropped 4% because of lower commercial […]

The Buzz

30 Apr

Lawmakers’ mission when back in Sacramento will be economic recovery. In the meantime, live energy bills are whittled down largely to ones that fund alternative power and transportation sectors and create jobs to help the damaged state economy. Also in the active legislation bucket is legislation to reduce the impacts of safety shutoffs. A bill […]

CPUC Proposal Prods Utilities to Remove Microgrid Hurdles

30 Apr

The three private utilities would be required to speed up and simplify their approvals of third-party backup systems in high fire threat zones and their interconnection to utility grids, under a California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision released April 29. However, it will not come up for a Commission vote before June 11. The proposal […]

Juice: Beyond Diesel Backup Generation and Blackouts

28 Apr

The use of clean-fueled microgrids to keep power flowing to vulnerable people and critical services—from safety to water supply—during upcoming fires and outages was the talk of the town. Unfortunately, the talk led to little action on installing these types of projects in high fire threat areas in California before wildfires start this year. Pacific […]

Shorts

28 Apr

Updated April 30 The last snow survey of the season found the state snowpack at 37% of the May average. That equates to 8.4 inches of snow water equivalent. The standard survey at Phillips Station in Lake Tahoe was 1.5 inches, with a snow water equivalent of 0.5 inches, which is 3% of the May […]