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The Buzz

25 Feb

The 2020 and quarterly earnings of the parent corporations of the four investor-owned utilities are a mixed bag. Annual net income for Edison International and PG&E Corp. drops while fourth quarter earnings rise. Sempra Energy’s reported income goes the opposite direction. While utility leaders sing the praises of increased investments and revenue to analysts, economists, […]

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 […]

Will Controversial Aliso Canyon Gas Field Get a New Lease on Life?

24 Feb

Despite the state’s legal commitment to decarbonize the energy sector, staff at the California Public Utilities Commission have concluded the large Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Los Angeles needs to remain open. There has been a forceful effort to close the field since a months-long eruption of methane gas from a failed well […]

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 […]

Questions Raised About Integrity of Cap-and-Trade Program

17 Feb

The role of the carbon cap-and-trade program and flaws in California’s plan to sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions were laid bare at a Feb. 16 meeting of the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 2. One thing that became clear during the hearing is that the state is over relying on carbon reductions from the program, including […]

More Fossil Power to Meet Summer 2021 Peak Demand Expected

11 Feb

In anticipation of high summer demand, including when the sun sets, the California Public Utilities Commission ordered investor-owned utilities to line up more supply resources, expected largely to be gas-fired power. That runs counter to the state mandate to ramp down fossil-fueled electricity to zero. “Customers deserve a reliable grid,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said […]

Shorts

10 Feb

Gov. Newsom appointed Jan Schori, former Sacramento Municipal Utility District chief, to the five-member grid board. She will fill the void left by Dave Olsen, who retired. Her term runs to the end of this year. Newsom also reappointed California Independent System Operator board member Mary Leslie to a three-year term. “The ISO and our […]

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 […]

Notable New Appointments by Biden Administration, Including New FERC Chair

21 Jan

On his second day in office, President Joe Biden named Rich Glick chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I am honored that President Biden has shown the confidence in me to lead the agency at this critical moment in time,” Chair Glick said Jan. 21. Until mid-December, Glick was the sole Democrat member on […]

Shorts

19 Jan

The federal D.C Circuit Court of Appeals Jan. 19 struck down the Trump Administration’s Affordable Clean Energy rule, which loosened greenhouse gas limits on power plants. “For four years, the Trump administration has propagated the outright lie that the Clean Power Plan relied on regulatory techniques never used before, and the EPA constructed an unsupportable […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Cal Advocate Says SoCalGas Deserves Large Fine

15 Dec

The Public Advocates Office urged the California Public Utilities Commission to fine SoCalGas $124 million on claims it continued to use ratepayer funds to undermine state and federal gas efficiency rules, after it was prohibited from doing so. The standards apply to buildings and appliances. In May 2018, the Commission forbade the gas utility from […]

Shorts

15 Dec

Updated Dec. 17 President-elect Joe Biden announced Dec. 17 he will nominate former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the new Secretary of Energy. He also plans to name former U.S. EPA chief Gina McCarthy National Climate Advisor. The appointed Deputy National Climate Advisor is Ali Zaidi. Zaidi is currently New York’s Deputy Secretary to the […]

CPUC Commissioner Liane Randolph Named State Air Chief

9 Dec

In a surprise move, Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed utility regulator Liane Randolph to head the California Air Resources Board. She will replace Mary Nichols in January. “I am beyond excited and honored to join the path-breaking team at CARB, which has been at the forefront of environmental progress for decades,” Randolph said. She committed to […]

Shorts

9 Dec

A new bill would create a blueprint for expanding the use of green hydrogen. SB 18 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) directs the California Air Resources Board, the California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Energy Commission to designate green hydrogen as a key energy source for renewable power uses and long-term storage. Advancing hydrogen […]

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 […]

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