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CEC Urged to Require Electric-Only New Construction

30 Jul

The California Energy Commission should mandate that all new buildings be gas-free in its 2022 update of the state energy code to protect public health, climate and the economy, the Rocky Mountain Institute said July 28. “Acting today will have far-reaching benefits—and conversely, the costs of missing this cycle are significant.” The Energy Commission is […]

Calif.-Quebec Cap & Trading Upheld by Federal Court

20 Jul

A federal district court in California again rejected the Trump Administration claim that the Golden State’s carbon cap-and-trade program with Quebec interfered with federal authority over foreign affairs. “Overall, the United States has failed to identify a clear and express foreign policy that directly conflicts with California’s cap-and-trade program,” the U.S. District Court for the […]

NREL Study Calls for Safe Solar Panel Disposal & Critical Material Recovery

13 Jul

We’re not far into the age of mega solar, but discarded modules are beginning to stack up, and they contain both rare and toxic materials. By 2050, there could be 80 million metric tons of discarded solar panels, according to a new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The average life of a PV […]

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 […]

The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]

CPUC Okays $213M in Building Decarb Projects & Outreach

26 Mar

State energy regulators approved March 26 allocating $200 million over four years to support two building decarbonization programs. The decision is “sensible, bold and pragmatic,” California Public Utilities Commission member Cliff Rechtschaffen said. He noted it addresses California’s over-reliance on gas-powered heaters and appliances. Of the state’s total natural gas consumption, 12% is used by […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

Will the Salton Sea Become Lithium Valley?

13 Feb

The California Energy Commission took a deep dive into the potential for extracting lithium from geothermal plants along the Salton Sea during a Feb. 12 symposium at Stanford University. Removing lithium from the mineral rich and very hot brine in this region in Southern California is full of promise because it’s potentially a world-class source […]

House Bill Sets Clean Energy High Bar for All 50 States

30 Jan

One day after pitching legislation setting a national carbon neutrality mandate by 2050, House democrats followed it with a $760 billion package backing it. The huge investment proposal would go to modernize aging infrastructure, making it safer and more resilient to climate change. It also would partially fund the carbon neutrality bill. “This bold framework […]

Undercurrents: Key Court Hearing Cancelled in Response to PG&E Deal

28 Jan

Bankruptcy judge Dennis Montali cancelled the Jan. 29 status conference after Pacific Gas & Electric announced it reached a tentative agreement with bondholders. In mid-January, Montali ordered the status conference so that competing reorganization plans would be ready in time for him to select the winner before a key June 30 deadline. The utility must […]

So Cal Power Plants Slated to Stay Online Up to Three More Years

24 Jan

The contentious issue of keeping a handful of aging power plants along the Southern California coast running beyond their legal deadline was debated at a Jan. 23 meeting of the Statewide Advisory Committee on Once Through Cooling. The grid operator, the California Public Utilities Commission and the owner of the plants want to keep the […]

Commissioner McNamee to Leave FERC

23 Jan

The five-member Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has two unfilled seats, will see the departure of Commissioner Bernard McNamee at the end of June. “I am not seeking a reappointment,” McNamee announced at the Commission’s Jan. 23 meeting. He plans to leave the commission when his term ends June 30. McNamee, a Republican, was appointed […]

CARB Approves Border Emissions Reduction Program

16 Jan

A new community-focused emissions reduction program aimed at reducing air pollution in a section of Imperial County near the Mexico border was approved by the California Air Resources Board during a Jan. 15 meeting. “It is a remarkable day and a remarkable historic process that we’re involved in,” ARB Chair Mary Nichols said just before […]

State Budget to Dedicate $2B to Climate Protection

13 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 state spending plan released Jan. 10 would spend $1.7 billion to reduce the impacts of climate change. The proposal includes investments in low carbon emission projects, wildfire mitigation, environmental equity, and alternative energy jobs in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. “The state’s goals are clear. Californians must have […]

CA New Green Deal Pitched

7 Jan

California lawmakers unveiled a state Green New Deal Jan. 6. “Just like with the original New Deal by FDR in 1932 that lifted America out of the Great Depression, we too must now harness all of our people power, political capital and courage to meet today’s greatest challenge—the clear and present danger of climate change,” […]

JUICE: 2020 Energy Trends

7 Jan

Top ticket energy issues in the Golden State this coming year include energy storage, transportation electrification and microgrids. Other key matters are the growing roles of community energy and natural gas bans. The rise in renewable energy and decarbonization efforts in California are the key drivers behind these market transformations. Simultaneously, these efforts to green […]

CARB Rolls Out Zero Emissions Truck Proposal

12 Dec

The California Air Resource Board Dec. 12 held an initial hearing on draft standards to require truck makers to begin selling electric- and fuel cell-powered “zero emissions” trucks in the state beginning in 2024. “This is the first such effort in the world,” said Air Board Chair Mary Nichols. The aim is to cut emissions […]

House Democrats Push a Carbon Tax

5 Dec

In the midst of the United Nations Climate talks in Madrid, Spain, a House committee explored the appropriate price tag to place on a carbon tax as a means of curbing greenhouse gases. The optimal price was said to range between $25 to $100 per ton of carbon dioxide equivalent. Two of the four professors […]

Pot Farms Burn the Midnight Oil, CEC Finds

2 Dec

Cannabis cultivation is and will continue to drive up electricity consumption in California. It is expected to add 1,600 GWh of new load over the next decade, according to the California Energy Commission. Demand from pot growth, largely energy-intensive indoor cultivation, is estimated to increase energy use in Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California […]

Opposition Grows to Converting Utah Plant Serving So Cal to Gas

21 Nov

Clear air advocates Nov. 19 urged the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to put the brakes on a coal to natural gas conversion at the Intermountain Power Project in Utah. Their call occurred the same day that the California Energy Commission revealed that much of state’s gas power plant fleet will remain online […]