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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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

CPUC Takes a Beating for Ignoring Legislative Mandates

17 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission leadership was taken to task by a key Assembly energy committee for not implementing legislative mandates­ on a series of issues–-from energy efficiency to direct access. The berating came during a June 16 hearing. Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Chair Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) said the legislature passes bills with “clear […]

The Buzz

10 Jun

The road to essential carbon neutrality is laden with challenges, requiring more than electrification of vehicles and buildings. Renewable fuels, rates that get EV drivers to charge when the grid is flush, and flexible demand also are key, agency staff say during the first cut of the Air Resources Board’s scoping plan update. It also […]

Energy Bill Winners & Losers

27 May

Among the bills moving ahead in the Legislature are ones backing installations of clean microgrids in fire-prone communities and adding fees to net metered small solar rooftops. The key local community microgrid measure is SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa). It would create a grant and technical assistance program at the California Energy Commission […]

Shorts

27 May

Pacific Gas & Electric reached a $43 million settlement with Sonoma and Shasta counties and other agencies and impacted cities to resolve wildfire civil claims arising from the 2019 Kincaid Fire near Geyserville and last year’s Zogg fire in Shasta County. “We look forward to continuing to partner with these local entities as we work […]

The Buzz

13 May

Additional resources give the California Independent System Operator more confidence in this summer’s grid. More than half will come online as the sun sets and air conditioners fire up. The grid operator also points to other resources in the event of intense peak demand if there is another whopper heat wave across the West. The […]

Few Surprises in Draft Energy Efficiency Code

12 May

The California Energy Commission’s latest proposed update to the Title 24 building efficiency code differs little from an earlier draft released in February. The latest language includes an expansion of CEC incentives to drive adoption of electric space or water heating, whichever is the biggest energy draw for a given new home, apartment, school, or […]

The Buzz

29 Apr

State regulators agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric that issuance of $7.5 billion in ratepayer bonds will improve its ratings will be put to the test again. Intervenors will seek rehearing of the controversial California Public Utilities Commission decision. A major rating agency is non plussed because the big utility securitization will not affect its […]

News Roundup: SoCalGas Used Ratepayer Money to Lobby Against Energy Efficiency

27 Apr

Southern California Gas subverted an effort designating ratepayer funds for energy efficiency to do the opposite: oppose local, state, and federal energy efficiency efforts. But there will be no penalty. That is according to a California Public Utilities Commission proposed decision. The proposal confirms the findings of the CPUC’s Public Advocates’ Office that for seven […]

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 […]

The Buzz

15 Apr

State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E’s certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of […]

Bioenergy and Efficiency Rebate Bills Pass Key Committee

8 Apr

The California Assembly seems increasingly interested in electricity made from different forms of so-called biowaste. Legislation to promote the use of bioenergy as an alternative to the open burning of crop and forestry waste passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 7. The bill also would fund the reduction of methane releases from dairies […]

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 […]

Shorts

6 Apr

updated April 8 Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators agreed on a $536 million “early action” fire prevention package. The package will fund the thinning of forests, fuel breaks around vulnerable communities and community hardening infrastructure to mitigate wildfire damage. “This year, we are budgeting more than $1 billion, with more than $500 million in early […]

JUICE: Covid Wreaks Havoc on Legislative Hearings for a Second Year

1 Apr

It used to be, pre-pandemic, that spring was the time that numerous bills were vetted and voted on during weekly legislative policy committee hearings. Energy legislation was debated for hours, extending into the night from time to time. Rarely did they match for length of the brutal Eternal Peace hearings when California’s 1996 deregulation law […]

LA & Sacramento Reach for 100% Clean Power Years Ahead of State Mandate

25 Mar

By the end of this decade, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power can reliably, equitably, and affordably provide power that is 98% carbon free. That is according to a National Energy Renewable Laboratory study commissioned by the City of Los Angeles released March 24. NREL analyzed multiple scenarios developed over several years to […]

Guest Juice: PG&E Storage Project Enhanced by Advanced Software

23 Mar

Corrected March 26 As the value of energy storage–both utility scale and behind the meter–becomes recognized, it is also becoming clear that its true value can only be fully captured by intelligent software. That is because the software increases the value of storage by feeding it into the grid during times of higher loads and […]

Shorts

17 Mar

SoCalGas’ 2020 energy efficiency programs helped save more energy than any other natural gas utility in the U.S, the utility claimed March 17. “By using less energy, SoCalGas customers saved more than $44 million in energy costs last year alone and reduced greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change by more than 211,000 metric tons–equal […]

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