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CPUC Allows PacifiCorp to Delay Coal Retirement Plan, Eases Economics of Clean Microgrids

19 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission voted without discussion to extend by several months the date by which PacifiCorp must file its plan detailing the retirement of coal plants serving 45,000 California ratepayers. PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. At the same July 15 meeting, the CPUC approved waiving a utility standby capacity […]

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 […]

The Buzz

8 Jul

The push to building electrification to slash greenhouse gas emissions is raising concerns that the shrinking base of gas customers will be unfairly burdened with higher utility bills. The issue is the focus of a new U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business paper. Some question why gas utilities aren’t treated like telecom companies, many of […]

Will the Shrinking Ratepayer Base be Protected from Gas Utilities’ Sunk Costs?

7 Jul

The move to decarbonize buildings is prompting questions about how gas utilities and their customers will fare in an increasingly electric landscape. Turns out, their fates may diverge. U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Lucas Davis and Associate Professor Catherine Hausman from the University of Michigan found that when the customer base of a […]

Federal Court Upholds Berkeley Gas Ban in New Buildings

7 Jul

A U.S. district court dismissed a lawsuit by the California Restaurant Association challenging the City of Berkeley’s ordinance banning natural gas use in new construction. The plaintiffs said the ban tread on exclusive federal turf. Berkeley’s gas ban is the first of its kind in California. The District Court for the Northern District of California […]

CEC Waives Permit for Another Diesel Backup at Data Center

29 Jun

The California Energy Commission exempted yet another very large diesel backup system from its permit certification process, putting the issue in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District’s court. The Commission also voted to allow two natural gas-fired power plants in Southern California to increase their output to meet peak demand when the heat soars. […]

The Buzz

24 Jun

State utility regulators work through a packed agenda, with approval of Pacific Gas & Electric’s $1.2 billion ratepayer-funded bond to cover wildfire costs getting a silent okay, being folded into the California Public Utilities Commission’s consent agenda. Getting public attention at this week’s CPUC meeting are its unanimous approval of an unprecedented mandate for 11,5000 […]

CPUC Mandates 11.5 GW of New Clean Electricity

24 Jun

State regulators stripped natural gas power plants from a new mandate that 11,500 MW of new resources be online by mid-decade, to the delight of clean energy advocates. Two earlier competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would have included fossil resources, with one calling for 1,500 MW and the other 500 MW to be squeezed […]

Calls to Do Away with Subsidies for Natural Gas Hook Ups

22 Jun

Eliminating subsidies for natural gas pipeline connections to new homes in California is critical to slashing greenhouse gas emissions, advocates say. “We have to stop digging the hole deeper,” Panama Bartholomy, Building Decarbonization Coalition executive director, told the California Energy Commission during its June 22 Building Decarbonization workshop. The coalition is a nonprofit made up of […]

Shorts

22 Jun

SDG&E released a new guide June 22 that provides details about electric medium- and heavy duty-vehicles in the pipeline—from the Ford F-150 Lightening to electric buses. The 110-page guide includes the weight, charging range, amount of battery storage and other details that are available for emerging electric large vehicles. The state agency with oversight over […]

The Buzz

17 Jun

The California grid operator extends the call for conservation from Thursday to Friday evening. Initially, high heat across the West was expected to be the main threat to reliability on June 17 but then 1,100 MW of in-state generation crashes. About the same time, an unscheduled 600 MW of gas plants comes to the California […]

FERC Scrutinizes New Gas Projects’ Climate Pollution Impacts

17 Jun

At its regular meeting this week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two more orders that affirm its authority to take into account new natural gas projects’ greenhouse gas emissions. A 2017 court ruling said the agency must do so when certifying projects. Commissioner Allison Clements, a proponent of such a climate evaluation, said she […]

CPUC Pitches Independent State Monitor for PG&E

15 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission plans to replace the outgoing federal monitor, who is keeping tabs on Pacific Gas & Electric compliance with safety and reliability laws, regulations, and protocols, with a state monitor next year. In light of the utility’s numerous violations over the last several years, an ongoing safety monitor was required as […]

Latest Carbon-Cutting Blueprint Hashed Out at Public Workshop

10 Jun

Electrifying buildings and transportation won’t get the state to carbon neutrality by 2045, staff from energy and air pollution control agencies said over two days of California Air Resources Board workshops this week. The focus was ARB’s significant update to its long-term plan to avert worsening climate change. There also was general consensus that the […]

Latest Infusion of Energy Commission Cash for New Clean Tech

10 Jun

The California Energy Commission continued its streak of clean tech funding this week with more than a dozen new grants totaling $93 million.  Two of the largest grants went to a venture fund: CalCEF Ventures was awarded $43 million. Of that amount, $33 million is to continue its work to fund clean energy entrepreneurs and […]

New Energy Commission Report Addresses Emissions from Buildings

1 Jun

Homes and commercial buildings are responsible for one quarter of California’s greenhouse gas emissions. More than half of the carbon is released by appliances, either because they burn gas or are powered by electricity. The rest is from offsite generation to run lights in buildings, and for heating and cooling. Decarbonizing buildings is key to […]

San Diego Stays Married to SDG&E

1 Jun

After failing to find any competitors for the city’s electric and gas services, the San Diego City Council voted 6-3 to continue the city franchises with San Diego Gas & Electric for another 20 years. The right-of-way agreements include an option that allows the city to cancel after a decade for any reason, including to […]

State Utility Regulators Call For 11.5 GW of New Resources by 2026

25 May

Two competing California Public Utilities Commission proposals would require utilities, community energy and other provider investments in a combined 11,500 megawatts to come online between 2023 and 2026 to ensure a solid and far less polluting grid. About one tenth would come from fossil-fueled power. One proposal, by Administrative Law Judge Julie Fitch, would okay […]

The Buzz

21 May

State regulators require the private utilities to offer to sell renewable portfolio resources to community energy and other providers. Each aggregator and other entity will be offered a proportional share of the resources bought by the utility for its ratepayers that later joined a non utility. But the California Public Utilities Commission 5-0 vote declines […]

FERC Warns of Tight So Cal Gas Supplies, and Risks of Extreme Heat and Fires

20 May

It’s not just California regulators who are worried about the supply of electricity in the state and the West this summer. Federal regulators also are watching resource reliability and potential peak demand. In addition to drought and high wildfire risk, Southern California faces the additional problem of tight gas supplies, according to the Federal Energy […]

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