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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 […]

Latest Carbon-Cutting Blueprint Hashed Out at Public Workshop

10 Jun

Electrifying buildings and transportation won’t get the state to carbon neutrality by 2045, staff from energy and air pollution control agencies said over two days of California Air Resources Board workshops this week. The focus was ARB’s significant update to its long-term plan to avert worsening climate change. There also was general consensus that the […]

The Buzz

3 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission tightens utility safety protocols to limit the number and reach of shutoffs this year. Regulators hope to avoid a repeat of the widespread problematic shutoffs in 2019. The commissioners also direct the three private utilities to submit annual shutoff reports. The CPUC proposes an additional fine on Pacific Gas & […]

New Energy Commission Report Addresses Emissions from Buildings

1 Jun

Homes and commercial buildings are responsible for one quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the carbon is released by appliances, either because they burn gas or are powered by electricity. The rest is from offsite generation to run lights in buildings, and for heating and cooling. Decarbonizing buildings is key to […]

House Hearing on Transmission Hits California Live Wires

24 May

Barriers to transmission needed for clean energy growth in California and across the country can be overcome, advocates told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Climate Crisis May 20. Wildfires and freezes “have left Americans in the dark and in danger just in the last four months,” Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), the committee […]

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 […]

Building Decarbonization Bills & Proposed Rule Changes Face Headwinds

20 Apr

There is a big push for regulations and legislation to decarbonize buildings in California, largely by replacing fossil fuel use for heating and cooking with electrification. But those efforts face significant opposition from gas utilities and workers unions threatened by the proposed change. Buildings are the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, […]

News Roundup: LA City Council Pressures SoCalGas to Close Playa del Rey Field

8 Apr

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously April 7 to close the Playa del Rey underground natural gas storage facility owned by Southern California Gas. The Playa del Rey field is smaller but considered riskier than the Aliso Canyon gas storage field. The Playa facility, which is near the LA International Airport, is located in […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch. After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for […]

Roundup: East Bay to Offset Peak Load w/ Negawatts Reaped Elsewhere

4 Mar

East Bay Community Energy signed a deal with home energy management company OhmConnect to apply 25 MW in aggregated energy reductions to EBCE’s peak load during evening hours as solar power diminishes. It’s a novel demand response arrangement. The transaction does not sign up EBCE customer into the ‘negawatt’ program but instead taps into the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

News Roundup: Stebbins Sues CPUC, Senator Seeks to Advance Decarbonization

8 Dec

Alice Stebbins, the former California Public Utilities Commission executive director, who was recently fired, filed a lawsuit against the agency. She claims she was illegally ousted for being a whistle blower. “Ms. Stebbins was fired because she had the courage to blow the whistle, insist on collecting money due to the CPUC, and try to […]

The Buzz

19 Nov

State utility regulators aim to move on demand side resources to avoid outages when it is roasting hot next summer. They plan to take the unusual step of expediting changes to California Public Utilities Commission resource adequacy, demand response and other load reduction programs. Over at the nation’s capital, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission holds […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

Shorts

17 Nov

East Bay Community Energy pulled from its Nov. 18 board agenda the issue of a whether to use the nuclear power from Diablo Canyon. “The item was pulled due to lack of interest among the largest Brilliant 100 customer base and it won’t be reconsidered in 2020,” Melissa Brandt, EBCE spokesperson, said. Local power activists have objected […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

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