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Budget Committee Eyeing Governor’s EV Charging Spending

24 Feb

A Senate Budget Subcommittee is scrutinizing the governor’s nearly $1.5 billion proposal to fund largely electric and hydrogen vehicle charging stations. It includes $1 billion of continuous appropriations over many years, raising eyebrows. Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), subcommittee chair, objected to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposal of recurring annual appropriations for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicle stations […]

Bills to Ban Fracking, Create Offshore Wind Industry Introduced

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 Legislation that would ban the practice of fracking to extract natural gas and oil from many wells was announced Feb. 17 by Sen. Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) and Sen. Monique Limon (D-Santa Barbara). The ban would affect new wells and those up for renewal starting Jan. 1, 2022. SB 467 also would […]

Jobs Pitted Against Environmental Justice in House Climate Hearing

9 Feb

The loss of fossil fuel industry jobs was Republican members’ rallying cry at a climate hearing in the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee. Environmental and Climate Subcommittee Chair Paul Tonko (D-NY) held the Feb. 9 hearing to propel President Joe Biden’s executive orders to decarbonize the economy by 2050 and create millions of new jobs. […]

San Diego Tries Again for a New Power Utility

4 Feb

After failing to attract more than one bid to provide electricity and gas service, the City of San Diego has extended its franchise with San Diego Gas & Electric to June 1. The city will open a second round of bidding this March with proposals due in April, the City Council’s Environment Committee was told […]

News Roundup: CA is #1 in EVs, PG&E Sells Wireless Access to Towers for $1B

3 Feb

Updated Feb. 3 California has done more than any other state to advance vehicle electrification, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “It is the only state to set deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy-duty trucks, and commercial vehicles, and to adopt statewide building codes for wiring most types of new buildings […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

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 […]

Newsom Proposes $2.5B for Electric Transportation & Fire Mitigation

11 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposes spending more than $1.5 billion to accelerate electric and other non-fossil fueled vehicles and charging stations, particularly in polluted poor communities. He also plans to direct another $1 billion to reduce wildfire risks in high threat areas—forests and communities.  Newsom’s proposal released Jan. 8 highlights significant exacerbation of climate […]

The Buzz

17 Dec

Federal energy regulators shoot down a proposed order requiring the grid operator to prove the August outages were not caused by its unreasonable tariff. Two of the three voting Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members reject interfering with the California Independent System Operator’s work with state energy agencies to fill grid reliability gaps. The California Public […]

CPUC Acts to Advance Electric Vehicles

17 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission has passed three more measures to promote electric vehicles. “These decisions will help with rates, charging behavior, infrastructure, and investment in underserved communities,” Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said Dec. 17. In the first action, the Commission eliminated demand charges for commercial owners of electric vehicles in San Diego Gas & Electric […]

News Roundup: PG&E Admits it Caused Zogg Fire, Nichols not Next EPA Chief

15 Dec

Updated Dec. 17 Pacific Gas & Electric acknowledged that its equipment likely started the huge fire in Shasta County on Sept. 27, which killed four people and destroyed 204 buildings during the nearly two weeks it burned. More than 56,000 acres were torched. PG&E said it will take a $275 million hit in its end […]

The Buzz

3 Dec

The Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 shuts down just two days after it goes back online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know the cause, who is on the hook for the repair and whether there will […]

Four More NorCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

Klamath Dams Closer to Demolition

17 Nov

Four years after a historic agreement was reached to remove dams on the Klamath River to revive the once surging salmon runs, a new revision was announced Nov. 17. It is expected to satisfy a controversial condition added by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last July. “According to many FERC nerds, this is going to […]

San Francisco, San Jose Ban Gas in New Buildings

12 Nov

Natural gas use in new homes and commercial buildings will be banned in the City of San Francisco starting next June. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on a preliminary vote this week, the prohibition will be formally approved Nov. 17. Last fall, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to require all new […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

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