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The Buzz

22 Jul

Pacific Gas & Electric is going to underground a whopping 10,000 miles of power lines in risky fire territory. It made the announcement several days after informing state regulators it may have ignited the Dixie Wildfire in Butte and Plumas counties, which continues to spread. The price tag will be hefty but putting underground lines […]

CPUC Allows PacifiCorp to Delay Coal Retirement Plan, Eases Economics of Clean Microgrids

19 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission voted without discussion to extend by several months the date by which PacifiCorp must file its plan detailing the retirement of coal plants serving 45,000 California ratepayers. PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. At the same July 15 meeting, the CPUC approved waiving a utility standby capacity […]

SMUD Plans to Beat State Net Zero Carbon Goal by 15 Years

14 Jul

California has mandated its state power providers reach 60% renewables by 2030, but the Sacramento Municipal Utility District plans to supply 100% clean energy by the start of the next decade. That puts it ahead of virtually all other utilities, according to SMUD’s March 2021 Zero Carbon report. Its plan for net zero power supply emissions […]

Oregon Fire Stresses California’s Grid but Blackouts Averted

13 Jul

Updated July 15 Source: The worsening Bootleg wildfire in southern Oregon shut off 5,500 MW of power imports from the Northwest, requiring the California grid operator and utilities to call for conservation across the state to protect the grid Friday through Monday. But the California Independent System Operator, which manages the California Oregon Intertie […]

Federal Court Upholds Berkeley Gas Ban in New Buildings

7 Jul

A U.S. district court dismissed a lawsuit by the California Restaurant Association challenging the City of Berkeley’s ordinance banning natural gas use in new construction. The plaintiffs said the ban tread on exclusive federal turf. Berkeley’s gas ban is the first of its kind in California. The District Court for the Northern District of California […]

CEC Waives Permit for Another Diesel Backup at Data Center

29 Jun

The California Energy Commission exempted yet another very large diesel backup system from its permit certification process, putting the issue in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s court. The Commission also voted to allow two natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California to increase their output to meet peak demand when the heat soars. […]


29 Jun

The grid operator did not call a flex alert on Monday because demand was lower than projected during a west-wide heat wave. The California Independent System Operator’s forecast peak for June 28 in the day-ahead market was 40,160 MW, compared to the actual peak of 37,802 MW. The projected peak on Tuesday was 39,055 MW, […]

Remembering Bill Marcus

28 Jun

The highly respected and long-time energy economist Bill Marcus passed away earlier this year after a battle with prostate cancer. “He was the most effective and influential utility regulatory advocate ever,” Ralph Cavanagh NRDC Energy co-director, Climate & Clean Energy Program, said. Marcus worked at various organizations for more than 40 years, including the California […]

The Buzz

24 Jun

State utility regulators work through a packed agenda, with approval of Pacific Gas & Electric’s $1.2 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover wildfire costs getting a silent okay, being folded into the California Public Utilities Commission’s consent agenda. Getting public attention at this week’s CPUC meeting are its unanimous approval of an unprecedented mandate for 11,5000 […]

CPUC Mandates 11.5 GW of New Clean Electricity

24 Jun

State regulators stripped natural gas power plants from a new mandate that 11,500 MW of new resources be online by mid-decade, to the delight of clean energy advocates. Two earlier competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would have included fossil resources, with one calling for 1,500 MW and the other 500 MW to be squeezed […]

Struggling Communities Land $20M for Emissions-Free Transportation

24 Jun

Local clean energy transportation projects in 21 polluted, disadvantaged communities across the state were awarded $20 million in grants June 23. The money comes from the California Air Resources Board’s carbon cap-and-trade program and will fund projects ranging from zero emissions shuttles to bike sharing. “These funds directly support disadvantaged communities and communities of color […]

Calls to Do Away with Subsidies for Natural Gas Hook Ups

22 Jun

Eliminating subsidies for natural gas pipeline connections to new homes in California is critical to slashing greenhouse gas emissions, advocates say. “We have to stop digging the hole deeper,” Panama Bartholomy, Building Decarbonization Coalition executive director, told the California Energy Commission during its June 22 Building Decarbonization workshop. The coalition is a nonprofit made up of […]

Upcoming Sale of California Offshore Wind Leases

22 Jun

Next summer, the federal agency that holds authority over offshore wind development in federal waters plans to auction leases for up to 4.6 GW of floating turbines off the coasts of Humboldt and Morro Bay. That is according to Jean Thurston-Keller, U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management coordinator of the federal-state Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task […]


22 Jun

SDG&E released a new guide June 22 that provides details about electric medium- and heavy duty-vehicles in the pipeline—from the Ford F-150 Lightening to electric buses. The 110-page guide includes the weight, charging range, amount of battery storage and other details that are available for emerging electric large vehicles. The state agency with oversight over […]

Calls to Conserve Electricity Thursday-Friday

17 Jun

The grid operator called on Californians to reduce their use of air conditioning and appliances Thursday and Friday during the first intense western-wide heat wave of the year. The California Independent System Operator June 17 called for conservation from 5 PM-10 PM on Thursday and 6 PM-9 PM on Friday to keep blackouts at bay. […]

FERC Scrutinizes New Gas Projects’ Climate Pollution Impacts

17 Jun

At its regular meeting this week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two more orders that affirm its authority to take into account new natural gas projects’ greenhouse gas emissions. A 2017 court ruling said the agency must do so when certifying projects. Commissioner Allison Clements, a proponent of such a climate evaluation, said she […]


15 Jun

The U.S. Supreme Court June 14  declined to take up oil companies arguments challenging a California State Court that is allowing damage claims for climate harms to go forward. San Francisco and Oakland brought a public nuisance suit against Exxon, Chevron, Shell, and ConocoPhillips for their products’ emissions, insisting they have caused flooding and damaged city […]

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 […]

Latest Infusion of Energy Commission Cash for New Clean Tech

10 Jun

The California Energy Commission continued its streak of clean tech funding this week with more than a dozen new grants totaling $93 million.  Two of the largest grants went to a venture fund: CalCEF Ventures was awarded $43 million. Of that amount, $33 million is to continue its work to fund clean energy entrepreneurs and […]

DOE Follows Los Angeles with Launch of Clean Hydrogen Plan

7 Jun

The Department of Energy proposed June 7 to drive down the cost of “clean hydrogen” by 80% over the coming decade. DOE’s Energy Earthshots Initiative aims to cut the cost of zero- and low-carbon hydrogen to as low as $1 per kilogram. The fuel’s current cost is between $4-$7 per kg. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm […]


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