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CPUC Judge Adds Ratepayer Protections to $337M SCE Bond

20 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission pushes back against a controversial proposal by Southern California Edison to put its ratepayers on the hook for $337 million in new debt. The utility plans to raise the money from bondholders to cover its costs of hardening power equipment against fire threats, which will be fully repaid by SCE […]

News Roundup: Diablo Goes Down during Flex Alert

15 Oct

Updated Oct. 16 Temperatures at the Southern California coast and in parts of northern California are projected to be 15-25 degrees above normal and the state grid operator has called for residents and businesses to conserve electricity. Making matters worse is that the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant and its 2,200 megawatts of power went offline. […]

Fed Regulators Make Way for Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Markets

15 Oct

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has opened the door a crack to allow state carbon pricing into wholesale markets, proposing a set of policy guidelines for grid operators. It was approved on a 2-1 vote cast Oct. 15. The California Independent System Operator has incorporated carbon pricing into its market since 2013, and the new proposal […]

Energy Commission Approves $400M to Slash Vehicle Emissions

14 Oct

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved $384 million in funding for zero emissions vehicles over the next three years, significantly boosting its commitment to charging infrastructure. Much of the work will be carried out in struggling polluted communities. “This is a really an important moment for the state,” Commissioner Patty Monahan said during the agency’s […]

Lawmakers Told Grid Imbalances Can Be Solved by Next Summer

13 Oct

The California Assembly Utilities & Energy Committee Vice Chair Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) castigated the state’s three energy agencies at a Monday hearing, saying their joint report on rolling outages in August was essentially finger pointing and excuses. The heads of those agencies, the California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator and California Energy Commission, continued to […]

How High California Must Jump to Top Zero Emissions Bar

13 Oct

California can achieve a zero-emissions economy by 2045 with existing technologies, but only if the state adds a lot more solar, wind, and battery storage each year. It specifically requires that over the next 25 years, annual build outs of these resources exceed their single biggest growth year to date, according to a draft joint […]

CPUC Speeds Up Effort to Bring More Power Online

8 Oct

The California Public Utilities Commission vowed Oct. 8 to accelerate its usual process in order to make more energy resources available by next summer. It also promised to modernize planning to reflect extreme heat, particularly as solar and wind supplies decrease with the setting sun.  The commitment was made two days after the California Independent […]

Shorts

7 Oct

To better protect the climate, Gov. Gavin Newsom Oct. 7 ordered that 30% of state lands be preserved, including by carbon capture activities. State agencies are to take steps to store more carbon, including by curbing wildfire threats, restoring wetlands and planting trees, which will help the state achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. “The science […]

Report: Salton Sea ‘Lithium Valley’ Could Supply 33% of Global Demand

6 Oct

Just one week after a law was signed in California creating a special committee to explore the potential of the Salton Sea to yield significant amounts of lithium, a report concludes it could result in a multi-billion dollar windfall for the state and its electric vehicles. The report by the non-profit New Energy Nexus says […]

California is Driving the Hydrogen Fuel Market

6 Oct

California has been a leader in hydrogen-fueled transportation and today is home to nearly all the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles in the United States. There are about 7,000 of these vehicles on state roads, and only another 600 spread across the whole country. Seven thousand vehicles is very few, but hydrogen vehicles are likely […]

The Buzz

2 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric seeks a couple of billion dollars more from ratepayer pocketbooks for utility-sparked wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It also asks state regulators for the green light to put its long-time headquarters in San Francisco up for sale. It says it will give the gain to customers. In other news, the grid […]

Resurrected Ratepayer-Funded Bonds Lining Up

30 Sep

Updated Oct. 1 Pay attention to Southern California Edison’s request to quickly shift wildfire costs to customers. It plans to do this through a financing mechanism it hasn’t used in 23 years: issuance of less costly bonds paid back fully by ratepayers. Pay attention because a lot more requests for approval of bonds like these […]

FERC Opening Markets to Distributed Resources Not Cause for Celebration in California Yet

29 Sep

Distributed resources advocates across the country celebrated the 2-1 vote approving Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 2222 for opening capacity, energy, and ancillary service markets to aggregated distributed energy. They applauded FERC’s pomise to “usher in the electric grid of the future and promote competition in electric markets.” The celebration may have been premature, especially […]

Shorts

29 Sep

U.S. carbon dioxide emissions produced by the electricity sector dropped 2.8%, or by 150 million metric tons, last year compared with 2018. They went from 5,281 MMmt in 2018 to 5,130 MMmt in 2019, the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated Sept. 30. “Changes in the electricity fuel mix were the most important factors, with coal-related […]

The Buzz

25 Sep

Southern California Edison reaches a $2 billion settlement with insurance firms that paid business and residential claims for their losses from wildfires in 2017-18 fires and mudslides. It includes funds for claims filed through mid-2023. The same day, the City of San Diego formally opens bidding for its electric and gas right-of-way franchise. It has […]

North San Diego SDG&E Line to Go Forward Over Opposition

25 Sep

The California Public Utilities Commission Sept. 24 unanimously approved a 12-mile line by San Diego Gas & Electric running from its San Marcos substation to the one in Escondido, passing through the town of Vista, over the protests of northern San Diego County residents. The project includes both upgrades and a new line. Many of […]

News Roundup: SCE Reaches $2B Deal with Fire Insurers

25 Sep

Southern California Edison agreed to a nearly $2 billion settlement to cover all claims by insurance companies for payouts they made to businesses and homeowners harmed by the utility-sparked 2017 Thomas and Koenigstein fires, and the 2018 Montecito mudslides. The agreement announced Sept. 23 pays $1.6 billion to insurance firms for third party fire claims […]

California Bans Gasoline Cars in 2035

23 Sep

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order Sept. 23 directing the sale of gasoline-fueled cars and small trucks to end within 15 years. This year’s worsening climate-exacerbated wildfires across the state was a key motivator. “We had to do more to make a big difference,” Mary Nichols, California Air Resources Board chair, said during the […]

New Bonds Put Ratepayers 100% on the Hook, and the Tab?

23 Sep

Consumer advocates are warning that a test case before the California Public Utilities Commission will set a grave precedent for Californians if regulators give it the okay. At issue is how much private utilities get to charge ratepayers for bonds they issue to cover their wildfire costs, including protecting against blazes. Southern California Edison plans […]

Net Present Value for Dummies

23 Sep

The new law created by AB 1054 seeks to tamp down rising utility bills by mandating that when the companies issue bonds paid back by ratepayers they use the lowest rate possible to save customers the most money. That is to be accomplished by applying a net present value analysis. This analysis reflects that a […]

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