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The Buzz

8 Apr

A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to […]

Bioenergy and Efficiency Rebate Bills Pass Key Committee

8 Apr

The California Assembly seems increasingly interested in electricity made from different forms of so-called biowaste. Legislation to promote the use of bioenergy as an alternative to the open burning of crop and forestry waste passed the Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee April 7. The bill also would fund the reduction of methane releases from dairies […]

JUICE: In Recall Election, Perception Matters, Will Reality Intercede?

7 Apr

Does a March report showing Los Angeles can achieve virtually 100% renewable energy as early as 2035 signal Gov. Gavin Newsom and his energy czars are ceding their leadership on a carbon-free economy? And would that perception dissuade environmental voters from supporting the governor in the upcoming recall election? Recent state decisions to extend the […]

Shorts

6 Apr

updated April 8 Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislators agreed on a $536 million “early action” fire prevention package. The package will fund the thinning of forests, fuel breaks around vulnerable communities and community hardening infrastructure to mitigate wildfire damage. “This year, we are budgeting more than $1 billion, with more than $500 million in early […]

The Buzz

1 Apr

Changes wrought by the pandemic upend the legislative session, once again. After little action on the committee hearing front for weeks, bill hearings are getting back on track. See the list of bills being taken up in the Assembly and Senate energy committees in this week’s Juice column. California Community Choice continues to grow, as […]

JUICE: Covid Wreaks Havoc on Legislative Hearings for a Second Year

1 Apr

It used to be, pre-pandemic, that spring was the time that numerous bills were vetted and voted on during weekly legislative policy committee hearings. Energy legislation was debated for hours, extending into the night from time to time. Rarely did they match for length of the brutal Eternal Peace hearings when California’s 1996 deregulation law […]

The Buzz

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission will vote on an emergency proposal to beef up demand side resources to avert summer blackouts next week. Its energy action this week is limited to okaying Pacific Gas & Electric’s community microgrid program launch. After vigorous sparing, federal regulators approve evaluating a gas project’s greenhouse gas emission impacts for […]

Bills to Promote Green Hydrogen and Large Customer Demand Response Advance

16 Mar

A handful of measures passed out of the key Senate Energy, Utilities & Communications Committee March 15. One expands the definition of green hydrogen; one adds statutory protections to a demand response program that pays commercial and industrial customers to shed load, and the third seeks to increase poor communities’ access to distributed resources. SB […]

The Buzz

11 Mar

Lawmakers express diametric views as to which electricity resources are reliable and affordable during a U.S. Senate Energy Committee hearing. The board of the Western Energy Imbalance Market approves a trio of market changes to help avert avoidable supply crunches when summer temperatures soar in and outside California. Utility regulators across the country seek to […]

Capital Roundup: Gov. Touts Climate Action, CPUC Rebuked for Aliso Canyon

10 Mar

In his State of the State, Gov. Gavin Newsom pointed to climate driven wildfires and the necessity of curbing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from the transportation sector. It is the largest source of state emissions. During his evening March 9 address, Newsom highlighted his executive order banning the sale of gasoline powered cars and passenger […]

Offshore Wind Power Coming to California

1 Mar

Offshore wind power is heading the Golden State’s way, first to serve the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, a panel of energy experts at a California Community Choice Association webinar said Feb. 26. This renewable technology has already gained favor in Europe, Asia, and on the East Coast of the U.S. The Redwood Coast authority project […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Buzz

18 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chief calls the multi-day power outage in Texas a “humanitarian crisis.” FERC is looking into what went wrong during the unusually icy conditions. It urges politicians, the media, and others to not speculate on the cause of the loss of power. Soaring demand in Texas, frozen power plants, and massive […]

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 […]

News Roundup: CAISO Calls for Conservation, PG&E Reaches 10M Securities Settlement

17 Feb

Updated Feb. 18 In a reversal of high heat and demand causing rolling blackouts in California, Texas suffered far larger and longer blackouts this week because of unusually icy conditions. More than 4 million customers lost power because thermal power plants were unable to operate. Wind turbines also froze. “Extreme weather conditions caused many generating […]

The Buzz

11 Feb

The ever-growing tab from months of unpaid utility bills will soon come due. Who gets saddled with that debt, currently $1.15 billion, remains to be seen? The California Public Utilities Commission will look at repayment options. Unpaid bills of $1 billion and climbing gets dwarfed by the $15 billion in additional spending the private utilities […]

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 […]

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