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SoCal Gas Sues CEC for Illegally Sidelining Natural Gas

5 Aug

The battle to preserve natural gas in California is heating up. Southern California Gas sued the California Energy Commission July 31, claiming it shirked its duty to adequately report the role natural gas will play in the state’s energy future. The lawsuit brought in the State Superior Court in Orange County was joined by SoCal […]

Bills on Lithium Extraction, EV Charging, Biomethane Advance

4 Aug

The Senate Energy Utilities & Communications Committee met this week and passed four energy bills. The committee had halted reconvening mid-July after one lawmaker and some staff were found to be infected with Covid-19. The quartet of measures approved Aug. 3 promote electric vehicle chargers and school efficiency, lithium recovery in the Imperial Valley, turning […]

The Buzz

31 Jul

A trio of Bay Area community energy providers in PG&E territory announce big plans for home battery backups. An agreement reached with Sunrun includes 20 MW of distributed solar that will charge batteries in 6,000 dwellings across three counties. The parent companies of Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric release earnings reports. Edison […]

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 […]

Juice: The Road from Coal to Green Hydrogen

28 Jul

Back in 2006, the California legislature passed a bill limiting imports of electricity from coal-fired power plants in other states, as well as from new and upgraded in-state natural gas facilities. SB 1368 by former Sen. Don Perata (D-Oakland) was groundbreaking, requiring utility supply contracts to not exceed a greenhouse gas emissions cap. It sent […]

Conflict Grows Between SoCal Gas and Ratepayer Advocate

27 Jul

California’s ratepayer advocate asked state regulators to fine SoCal Gas $4.5 million for ignoring a subpoena for financial records showing how much ratepayer money it spent on bogus grassroots efforts to undermine building electrification and other moves to phase out natural gas use. The amount of money the gas utility directed to outside lobbyists could […]

Grid Managers Ease the Way for Growing Energy Storage Paired w/ Solar

23 Jul

The California grid operator agreed to allow owners of power plants that include both solar and batteries to operate the two sources in tandem. The California Independent System Operator board approved the change July 22 in response to the surging trend of pairing energy storage with solar projects. It is aimed at filling the 3,300 […]

Warren Buffett Bids to Replace SDG&E

21 Jul

San Diego will take formal bids for alternatives to San Diego Gas & Electric as its power supplier because of the upcoming expiration of the utility’s franchise agreement with the city. Billionaire Warren Buffet will bid into the city’s solicitation. SDG&E’s 50-year franchise agreement, which allows use of San Diego’s rights-of-way for delivery of electricity […]

Sacramento Makes Bold Move to 100% Clean Power by 2030

20 Jul

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board voted unanimously the evening of July 16 for an extremely aggressive carbon neutral power target: 100% in just ten years. Previously the utility had aimed for 2040. California’s all out carbon neutral electricity mandate is set for 2045. “The threat of climate change is too great for anything short […]

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 […]

Energy Commission Delves into Vehicle-to-Grid Technologies

16 Jul

Much of the focus for providing backup power during shutoffs has been on microgrids, but attention shifted to allowing electric vehicles—small and large—to supply power during outages. Zero emission car and bus batteries can provide local power, but regulatory and financial barriers stand in the way. Speakers at a July 15 workshop convened by the […]

A 21st Century Distribution System Will Provide Economic Recovery

15 Jul

In response to the Covid-19 economic downturn, energy sector stakeholders are calling for a national transmission system and grid modernization but California should take a state-centric approach. “Local level economic recovery can come from distribution system modernization,” V. John White, Center for energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director, told Current. The benefit of investments […]

Enviro Groups Try to Head Off Renewable Gas

14 Jul

Rejecting the term “renewable natural gas,” two environmental organizations have issued a report calling the fuel both environmentally and financially unsustainable. The Sierra Club and Earthjustice say that using biogas from landfills and dairies, biomass and synthetic gas in place of electrification does “not provide a path to decarbonizing the gas grid in line with […]

Tribal Focus in Latest $30+M Round of CEC Storage Combination Grants

8 Jul

The California Energy Commission continued to award grants to innovative energy storage projects and microgrids, including two novels ones that will use discarded electric vehicle batteries to store solar power. Awards unanimously approved this week, totaling more than $31 million, aim to help ensure California slashes carbon emissions and attains carbon neutrality within 15 years. […]

CEC Continues Steady Push for Hydrogen

2 Jul

The California Energy Commission’s continued funding for research and development to create emissions-free hydrogen fuel for transportation and energy storage is beginning to show results.  “Adoption is happening, but the supply is thin,” Wayne Leighty with Shell Energy said during a July 2 California Energy Commission workshop. “Don’t worry about getting it right, but getting […]

House Climate Committee Issues Decarbonization Roadmap

30 Jun

The House Select Committee on Climate Change released a much-awaited plan June 30 that seeks to make the nation carbon neutral by 2050, five years later than California’s deadline. The new national proposal stresses that continued climate pollution equals continued racism, disproportionately impacting non-whites. It puts environmental justice communities at the front of the line […]

Court Slams FERC Roadblocks to Pipeline Permit Challenges

30 Jun

Federal energy regulators’ habit of postponing landowners’ challenges to permits for natural gas pipelines that run across their property was soundly rejected by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals June 30. The issue before the court boiled down to the legitimacy of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s issuance of so called “tolling orders,” which delay […]

The Buzz

25 Jun

California sets the nation’s first statewide mandate to electrify medium- and heavy-duty trucks beginning in 2024. State energy regulators and utilities will play key roles in the success of the transition away from polluting diesel trucks to electrified ones by getting needed charging infrastructure built. The California Public Utilities Commission expands the local resources adequacy […]

California Mandates Electric Trucks

25 Jun

The California Air Resources Board voted nearly unanimously June 25 to require that at least 100,000 trucks on California roads, three quarter ton and heavier, be electric by 2030 to reduce greenhouse gases and diesel pollution. Five years later, the number is to grow to 300,000 zero emission trucks under the Advanced Clean Truck rule. […]

Air Board Set to Adopt Electric Truck Rule

23 Jun

The California Air Resources Board is expected to approve the first statewide clean truck standard in the country June 25. The Advanced Clean Truck Rule is to have half the trucks sold in California be electric by 2030. That is estimated to result in 100,000 alternatively fueled trucks on the roads by the end of […]