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Roundup: East Bay to Offset Peak Load w/ Negawatts Reaped Elsewhere

4 Mar

East Bay Community Energy signed a deal with home energy management company OhmConnect to apply 25 MW in aggregated energy reductions to EBCE’s peak load during evening hours as solar power diminishes. It’s a novel demand response arrangement. The transaction does not sign up EBCE customer into the ‘negawatt’ program but instead taps into the […]

JUICE: Does Hawaii’s Decoupling of Utility Profit from Investments Offer Lessons for California?

2 Mar

Last week a joint legislative hearing was held on strategies to stem the tide of continually rising utility bills in California. A range of proposals were pitched, from new income-based taxes to covering rising ratepayer costs with the state’s general fund. The hearing was held because there is general agreement that escalating rates threaten equity […]

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 […]

Utility Annual Earnings & 4th Quarter Go North and South

25 Feb

Edison International’s earnings for 2020 fell, but its fourth quarter net income was higher than in 2019. For Sempra Energy, the reverse was true. Edison International–Annual earnings for Southern California Edison’s parent company dropped to $700 million in 2020, or $1.98 per share. That compares to $1.3 billion in 2019, or $3.78 per share. Fourth […]

PG&E Reports Loss in 2020, Smaller than 2019

25 Feb

Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. reported continued losses for last year, at $1.3 billion, or $1.05 per share. That is far smaller than the utility loss of $7.7 billion, or $14.50/share, in 2019. Fourth quarter earnings for the utility’s parent company were in the black at $200 million, or 9 cents/share, contrasted with a loss […]

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 […]

Will Controversial Aliso Canyon Gas Field Get a New Lease on Life?

24 Feb

Despite the state’s legal commitment to decarbonize the energy sector, staff at the California Public Utilities Commission have concluded the large Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Los Angeles needs to remain open. There has been a forceful effort to close the field since a months-long eruption of methane gas from a failed well […]

SCE Ratepayer-Backed Bonds for Fire Costs Save Million$

23 Feb

Southern California Edison issued $338 million in securitized bonds to cover part of its wildfire capital expenditures on Feb 17. The bond offering closed Feb. 24. It is the first utility to issue what will be billions of dollars of mortgage type, ratepayer-backed bonds to recover fire mitigation and other costs under new state laws. […]

Shorts

23 Feb

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will exam whether there was market manipulation in the wholesale natural gas and electricity markets during last week’s extreme cold weather in Texas and the Midwest. “If the Office of Enforcement finds any potential wrongdoing that can be addressed under FERC’s statutory authority, it will pursue those matters as non-public […]

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 […]

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 […]

JUICE: Solar + Storage Is Rising

16 Feb

Making energy from the sun a more versatile resource by pairing it with storage technologies is gaining momentum as the grid evolves and prices fall. Storage is “at the same point in the growth curve that PV was at circa 10 years ago,” Bernadette Del Chiaro, California Solar and Storage Association executive director, said. Of […]

Utility Regulators Grapple with $1B+ in Unpaid Energy Bills

11 Feb

The California Public Utilities Commission is exploring options for paying off the more than $1.15 billion in unpaid utility bills that has accumulated during the pandemic. “The numbers are pretty horrendous,” CPUC President Marybel Batjer said Feb. 11 of the arrearages for Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and […]

Northern and Central Calif CCAs Team Up to Buy Power

8 Feb

Eight community energy organizations have joined forces to purchase clean power in an effort to lower costs through economies of scale. Realized savings would in turn be viewed favorably by credit rating agencies, potentially further improving community aggregators’ bottom lines. Several northern and central coast aggregators representing 6.6 million people and 32,600 GW hours of […]

CPUC is Heading Backwards on Demand Response Forward on Gas Plants

4 Feb

Instead of increasing demand response to help avoid blackouts during intense heat, a California Public Utilities Commission staff proposal would continue restricting its use on grounds some resources failed to show up during the August outages. At the same time, the fleet of gas plants are getting increased financial support in order to play a […]

San Diego Tries Again for a New Power Utility

4 Feb

After failing to attract more than one bid to provide electricity and gas service, the City of San Diego has extended its franchise with San Diego Gas & Electric to June 1. The city will open a second round of bidding this March with proposals due in April, the City Council’s Environment Committee was told […]

News Roundup: CA is #1 in EVs, PG&E Sells Wireless Access to Towers for $1B

3 Feb

Updated Feb. 3 California has done more than any other state to advance vehicle electrification, according to the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. “It is the only state to set deadlines for electrifying transit buses, heavy-duty trucks, and commercial vehicles, and to adopt statewide building codes for wiring most types of new buildings […]

SF Sues Energy Officials Over Connection Denials

2 Feb

The City and County of San Francisco filed suit against federal regulators for not stopping Pacific Gas & Electric from denying its requests to install lower voltage distribution connections to serve customers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “failed to prevent unlawful discrimination against San Francisco,” the lawsuit says. It claims PG&E provides such connections to […]

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