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Local Permitting Remains Major Hurdle to EV Charging

4 May

Getting local permits for electric vehicle chargers in hand, and the cost of installing them in California, continue to exceed national averages. That is despite the enactment more than five years ago of a law to streamline permitting. The average wait time for a local EV charger permit in California is 70% longer than the […]

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 […]

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 […]

JUICE: Vehicle-to-Grid and Home So Close and Yet So Far

13 Apr

Hundreds of billions of dollars of public money may soon infuse the electric vehicle market. President Joe Biden plans to invest $174 billion over 10 years, and Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes spending $1.5 billion in his 2021-22 state budget. In addition, the California Energy Commission detailed April 13 a $50 million project to accelerate the […]

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 […]

Bills to Promote Green Hydrogen and Large Customer Demand Response Advance

16 Mar

A handful of measures passed out of the key Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 15. One expands the definition of green hydrogen; one adds statutory protections to a demand response program that pays commercial and industrial customers to shed load, and the third seeks to increase poor communities’ access to distributed resources. SB […]

CPUC and Stakeholders Strive to Stop Spiking Rates

9 Mar

Editor’s note: Another take on the late February hearing to control soaring rates to protect equity and clean energy. California will not let its skyrocketing electricity rates threaten reliability or its policy goals, California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer told stakeholders during a Feb. 24 full commission hearing. The costs of California’s policy mandates […]

JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

PG&E Reports Loss in 2020, Smaller than 2019

25 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. reported continued losses for last year, at $1.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That is far smaller than the utility loss of $7.7 billion, or $14.50/share, in 2019. Fourth quarter earnings for the utility’s parent company were in the black at $200 million, or 9 cents/share, contrasted with a loss […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

SoCal Edison Takes Heat Over Power Shutoffs

27 Jan

State officials excoriated Southern California Edison Tuesday over its extensive power shutoffs last year, including over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday, awarding it the Hall of Shame prize for 2020. It was previously reserved for Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E was raked over the coals by regulators and politicians for the harm and disruption caused […]

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 […]

Bill Provides Backing for Microgrids in Struggling Communities

19 Jan

A proposed bill in the state Senate would address the growing gap in who is able to set up microgrids in California by providing support to communities seeking energy resilience. SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) creates a statewide grant and technical assistance program to help local governments increase installations of clean community microgrids […]

Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

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 […]

Edison Reimagines California’s Distribution System

5 Jan

Distributed energy’s explosive growth makes integrating it in a way that supports the power system critical, according to a new white paper from Southern California Edison. The paper forecasts significant growth of distributed energy resources (DER) in California and “we want to have the system technologies to see and manage their impacts,” SCE VP of Asset […]

Integrating Variable Resources and Flexible Demand

7 Dec

What is the best way to mix in growing levels of intermittent renewable resources in networks such as California’s, as it marches towards a 100% clean energy portfolio by 2045? Among the usual suspects are better interconnections, and more generation diversity, including more storage and price responsive demand, a resource traditionally neglected. A newly released […]

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