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The Buzz

6 Aug

Months of speculation as to who would be the CA grid operator’s new chief ends with the naming of Bonneville Power Administration head Elliott Mainzer. He says he wants to build on the success of the Energy Imbalance Market, which BPA joins next year. A nasty dispute between state utility commissioners and the executive director […]

Fracking Protection Bill Sputters

6 Aug

Legislation to require setbacks between natural gas and oil wells and playgrounds, schools, hospitals, and homes to protect the health of predominantly communities of color failed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee Aug. 5. But it was revived by a 5-3 vote to reconsider it in the future. AB 345 by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi […]

The Bill for Energy Shifts from the Office to Home

4 Aug

The increased hours people are spending at home have driven up residential power demand in California, and with it, utility bills. Late summer with its higher temperatures only makes the situation worse. The highest increase in home energy use reported among the major private and public utilities was 15%, in the southern part of the […]

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 […]

Shorts

4 Aug

Updated Aug. 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner Bernard McNamee will depart the agency Sept. 4. McNamee, whose term formally expired at the end of June, announced Aug. 5 his final day on the commission. He thanked President Trump for nominating him, adding “I will have more to say before I leave.”  Last week, Trump announced […]

Bay Area Aggregators Launch Big Home Battery Backup Plan

30 Jul

Three Bay Area community choice energy organizations announced a deal with Sunrun for 20 MW of new behind-the-meter solar plus battery backup in their territories to keep electricity flowing during shutoffs.  Under this novel agreement announced July 30, East Bay Community Energy, Peninsula Clean Energy and Silicon Valley Clean Energy will promote the Sunrun residential […]

The Buzz

16 Jul

PG&E sparked last fall’s Kincaid wildfire, CalFire reveals. State regulators launch a cutting edge framework for figuring how big a hit combined utility bills are for low income ratepayers. The scrutinized tab will include electricity, gas, telecommunication and water bills. More than two years after the near-devastating crumbling of the Oroville dam spillway, federal energy […]

Closer Scrutiny for Rising Utility Bills

16 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission July 16 adopted a groundbreaking blueprint for judging the affordability of all essential utility services, from power to water, for struggling ratepayers. No California agency has ever evaluated the reasonableness of combined utility costs for low income customers, who have been hit hard by shelter-at-home rules and resulting unemployment.   […]

FERC to Tighten Dam Safety Rules Post Oroville Collapse, Okays Klamath Dam Removal

16 Jul

Federal regulators proposed updating dam safety requirements in response to the 2017 failure of the spillway at the Oroville Dam and two recent collapses in Michigan. The partial crumbling of Oroville’s spillway, the nation’s highest dam, forced the evacuation of 180,000 people. The California Department of Water Resources is responsible for the spillway. The Federal […]

The Buzz

10 Jul

As wildfires spread, the governor increases the state budget to add more than 850 firefighters. Given the double whammy of fire threats and the pandemic, firefighters are directed to take necessary safety steps, including wearing masks and social distancing.  The same rules will apply to those evacuated by the state. How to ensure the financing […]

Building Electrification Gets Broad Support

9 Jul

Struggling Californians make up 40% of the population and suffer a disproportionate share of indoor pollution, principally from gas-fueled appliances. A new report, Towards an Accessible Financing Solution, offers a blueprint for financing strategies to drive the electrification of the homes of low-income people. Currently, home clean energy retrofits are principally reaped by Californians who […]

CPUC Decisions Curb Disconnections, Okay Central Resource Adequacy Buyer

11 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan to reduce the number of power disconnections of financially struggling customers. Also during its June 11 meeting, regulators voted to make the state’s two biggest private utilities the buyers of local supply cushions for all providers in their territories. That includes for their competitors, community energy. The […]

The Buzz

28 May

The California Public Utilities Commission approves Pacific Gas & Electric’s huge debt package to get it out of federal bankruptcy court by the end of June as directed by state legislation.   Moving on a parallel track is legislation setting the stage for California to seize PG&E’s gas and electric assets. Putting the utility under […]

Batjer Wins Easy Confirmation as CPUC President

27 May

The Senate Rules Committee unanimously confirmed Marybel Batjer as the California Public Utilities Commission president May 27. Batjer, who appeared by video stream before the committee, faced no opposition from committee members or the public. “We are very lucky to have you,” Senate pro Tem Toni Atkins said before the 4-0 confirmation vote. Batjer was […]

Big Grants for Lithium Recovery & Clean Microgrid in Disadvantaged Community

14 May

The California Energy Commission May 13 approved $33 million in grants, two for more than $9 million, in support of innovative clean energy projects. The five commissioners approved $9.5 million to help California become a leader in the recovery of lithium from brine and make geothermal baseload projects more affordable and efficient. California is home […]

Shorts

28 Apr

Updated April 30 The last snow survey of the season found the state snowpack at 37% of the May average. That equates to 8.4 inches of snow water equivalent. The standard survey at Phillips Station in Lake Tahoe was 1.5 inches, with a snow water equivalent of 0.5 inches, which is 3% of the May […]

The Buzz

23 Apr

The California Public Utilities Commission seeks ways to ease the suffering of ratepayers and alternative energy companies and their workers struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. After months of controversy, East Bay Community Energy votes 10-5 to reject taking nuclear power from PG&E. The nuclear power is a hot political potato for the East […]

CPUC Strives to Wring Progress out of Pandemic

23 Apr

An April 23 workshop at the California Public Utilities Commission on Covid-19 and its fallout was a study in pain. Mounting numbers of state residents cannot pay their gas and electric bills. The range of energy businesses, from those in solar, to energy efficiency to transportation electrification, are suffering layoffs, lost business and financing, and […]

Monterey Bay Community Power Temporarily Slashes Customer Bills

13 Apr

Updated April 16 To ease the financial hardship caused by the pandemic, the Monterey Bay community aggregator broke new ground April 13 when it voted 13-0 to cut in half generation charges to all 300,000 of its customers in May and June. The rate discount will be funded by higher bills starting in July and […]

The Buzz

2 Apr

The surge in residential energy use from millions of people ordered to stay home motivates energy regulators to lighten the financial burden of higher utility bills. They plan to advance the climate credit so they aren’t quite so high. The same day, California’s head energy regulator insists on resolving PG&E’s bankruptcy by the end of […]