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The Buzz

15 Jul

A divided California Public Utilities Commission green lights a $240 million utility electric vehicle charging program to help get the state closer to its 1 million-plus charger target. Two commissioners object, including because they didn’t have time to analyze the newly revised decision that earlier had been pulled off the Thursday agenda. Utility regulators unanimously okay […]

SMUD Plans to Beat State Net Zero Carbon Goal by 15 Years

14 Jul

California has mandated its state power providers reach 60% renewables by 2030, but the Sacramento Municipal Utility District plans to supply 100% clean energy by the start of the next decade. That puts it ahead of virtually all other utilities, according to SMUD’s March 2021 Zero Carbon report. Its plan for net zero power supply emissions […]

Faster Permits for Installing Vehicle Chargers Focus of Bill

11 May

Legislation to speed up plodding local permitting for home vehicle chargers and commercial charging stations to ensure 250,000 chargers are installed in California by 2025 is on the Assembly Floor. AB 970 by Assemblymembers Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) and David Chiu (D-San Francisco) would deem a permit application approved 25 days after submission unless city or […]

Shorts

26 Apr

The SMUD Board adopted a plan the evening of April 27 to have the utility be carbon neutral by the end of this decade. “Sacramento consistently ranks as one of the dirtiest air basins in the country and it disproportionately impacts our most disadvantaged residents,” said Board President Nancy Bui-Thompson. The Sacramento utility plans to […]

The Buzz

25 Mar

State utility regulators scale back increases in gas fired power in their new decision seeking emergency supply and load reduction resources the next two summers. The private utilities are ordered to add at least 1,000 MW to meet demand during extreme heat, preferably with storage. But the California Public Utilities Commission’s second emergency plan okays […]

LA & Sacramento Reach for 100% Clean Power Years Ahead of State Mandate

25 Mar

By the end of this decade, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power can reliably, equitably, and affordably provide power that is 98% carbon free. That is according to a National Energy Renewable Laboratory study commissioned by the City of Los Angeles released March 24. NREL analyzed multiple scenarios developed over several years to […]

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 […]

PG&E Shuts off Power in 22 Counties, SDG&E & SCE Customers Lose Power

8 Sep

High temperatures and fires over the Labor Day weekend put the grid to the test. While the California Independent System Operator managed to keep supply and demand in balance Sept. 5-7, tens of thousands of customers of the three investor-owned utilities lost power or had it shut off because of wildfires during and after the […]

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 […]

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 […]

West Coast Utilities Propose Truck Charging Network

17 Jun

A coalition of utilities in California, Oregon and Washington have developed a plan to advance the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks by installing public electric charging stations along a 1,300 mile stretch of Interstate 5.   The plan released June 17 proposes installing 27 charging stations, with up to 10 ports each, for medium-duty […]

The Buzz

19 Mar

The pandemic has slowed down solar projects but there is an unprecedented increase in new installed capacity in 2019. This year and future ones may be a different story but solar proponents expect solar capacity to keep rising in and outside California over the long haul. Large intermittent renewable generation paired with storage provides more […]

OPINIONATED: Setting the Record Straight on SMUD’s Community Solar

17 Mar

Editor’s Note: SMUD responds to criticism of its Solar Shares program raised in a March 2 editorial by local solar advocate Dave Rosenfeld. SMUD’s community solar program was approved by the California Energy Commission last month.  California’s 2019 Building Standards took effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and included a requirement for the use of solar […]

The Buzz

6 Mar

State lawmakers ask the private utilities hard questions about the new wildfire mitigation plans’ impacts on ratepayer pocketbooks and safety. Legislators also introduce new bills to keep PG&E et al from writing off penalties for safety violations. Other measures seek to increase the flow of renewable resources into utility grids and vehicles. To help close […]

Opinionated: What Happened to SMUD?

2 Mar

Editor’s note: The California Energy Commission agreed to allow the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to use a controversial alternative method for complying with the 2019 building energy efficiency codes. The CEC standards require all new single homes to have solar rooftops. SMUD got permission to allow builders to invest in community solar in place of […]

Shorts

20 Feb

The California Energy Commission approved a Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s community solar program. The Feb. 20 approval was based on the Energy Commission’s 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, which allow community solar in place of PV roof tops on new single family homes. “We expected that the marketplace and stakeholders would find solutions appropriate for […]

Pot Farms Burn the Midnight Oil, CEC Finds

2 Dec

Cannabis cultivation is and will continue to drive up electricity consumption in California. It is expected to add 1,600 GWh of new load over the next decade, according to the California Energy Commission. Demand from pot growth, largely energy-intensive indoor cultivation, is estimated to increase energy use in Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California […]

Setting a Single Metric for Energy Savings & Decarbonization

28 Aug

Pressure is mounting for energy policy makers to meld building decarbonization and energy efficiency programs and funding to ensure California reaches a zero carbon energy sector by 2045. Part and parcel of that considerable challenge for the California Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission is whether to substitute a single emissions reduction metric in place […]

West Coast Utilities Coordinate on Big Truck Electrification

18 Apr

A study on electrifying the 1,350 mile route from Mexico to Canada for medium- and heavy-duty trucks is being launched by a coalition of nearly three dozen West Coast private and public utilities and organizations. The study by this West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative, announced April 18, is to evaluate how, where and the […]

Shorts

9 Apr

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District last week became a fully operational member of the grid operator’s energy imbalance market. SMUD is the first municipal utility to join the short-term market, which the California Independent System Operator created in 2014 to better integrate renewable power into the grid and to lower the overall cost of power. […]

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