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The Buzz

22 Jan

Slashing emissions from dirty diesel backup systems, the use of which is growing, is the focus of energy and air quality regulators. Diesel generation is widely used because it is cheap, accessible, and established. Panelists at a joint agency workshop tout alternative technologies fueled by gas, more so when supplied with renewable gas or green […]

Looming Diesel Concerns Drives Quest for Backup Alternatives

22 Jan

A potential air quality crisis in the state best known for pollution regulation pushed the California Energy Commission into a full day forum Thursday on alternatives to diesel generators. The use of backup generators has soared in California with the growing frequency of preventive power outages during climate-exacerbated fire conditions. That includes large diesel projects […]

Notable New Appointments by Biden Administration, Including New FERC Chair

21 Jan

On his second day in office, President Joe Biden named Rich Glick chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. “I am honored that President Biden has shown the confidence in me to lead the agency at this critical moment in time,” Chair Glick said Jan. 21. Until mid-December, Glick was the sole Democrat member on […]

Five Fed Energy Regulators at the Helm

19 Jan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s first meeting of 2021 was the first time in many months that it operated with a full five-member board. The last time there was a full commission was August 2018. “A little bit of normality is creeping back in,” James Danley, FERC chair, said at the start of the Jan. […]

News Roundup: SDG&E’s Power Costs Okayed, LA Power Cited for Methane Leak

13 Jan

Updated Jan. 14 The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved San Diego Gas & Electric recovering from ratepayers $1.16 million for its 2021 projected power procurement costs, including for utility-owned generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. Presiding Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves rejected SDG&E’s proposed accounting change that would have put off a sizable amount of the […]

Shorts

12 Jan

The Public Advocates Office announced it saved California ratepayers more than $3 billion in utility rates last year. “The impacts of COVID-19 and the increasing frequency of wildfires have made our advocacy that much more important for Californians,” Elizabeth Echols, Director of CalAdvocates, said Jan. 11. She stressed the need for affordable safe utility services–from […]

JUICE: Top 2021 Energy Issues

5 Jan

Looking ahead at key energy concerns this year, Current predicts soaring utility bills in an economy battered by Covid-19 will be a major issue. Others will include the fate of the vast majority of San Diego Gas & Electric’s customer base and expected devastation and outages in the upcoming fire season. Also, center stage in […]

CPUC Acts to Advance Electric Vehicles

17 Dec

The California Public Utilities Commission has passed three more measures to promote electric vehicles. “These decisions will help with rates, charging behavior, infrastructure, and investment in underserved communities,” Commissioner Cliff Rechtschaffen said Dec. 17. In the first action, the Commission eliminated demand charges for commercial owners of electric vehicles in San Diego Gas & Electric […]

Cal Advocate Says SoCalGas Deserves Large Fine

15 Dec

The Public Advocates Office urged the California Public Utilities Commission to fine SoCalGas $124 million on claims it continued to use ratepayer funds to undermine state and federal gas efficiency rules, after it was prohibited from doing so. The standards apply to buildings and appliances. In May 2018, the Commission forbade the gas utility from […]

Shorts

15 Dec

Updated Dec. 17 President-elect Joe Biden announced Dec. 17 he will nominate former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm as the new Secretary of Energy. He also plans to name former U.S. EPA chief Gina McCarthy National Climate Advisor. The appointed Deputy National Climate Advisor is Ali Zaidi. Zaidi is currently New York’s Deputy Secretary to the […]

The Buzz

3 Dec

The Diablo nuclear power plant’s Unit 2 shuts down just two days after it goes back online over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The $100 million rebuild of the electric generator part malfunctions for a third time. A watchdog wants to know the cause, who is on the hook for the repair and whether there will […]

Four More NorCal Cities Ban Natural Gas in New Buildings

3 Dec

San Jose, Oakland, plus two Silicon Valley cities—Los Altos and Sunnyvale—voted to restrict natural gas use in new construction. San Jose and Oakland both voted Dec. 1 that beginning next June and August respectively, most new residential and commercial construction will be all-electric. Both city councils are expected to cast their final vote on the […]

Shorts

24 Nov

SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric announced Nov. 23 that they were launching a demonstration project that would blend green hydrogen with natural gas. The utilities said the move was part of their strategy to lower the carbon content of their fuel. “The vision is to leverage surplus renewable electricity generated in the middle […]

CPUC Will Scour for Demand Side Resources

19 Nov

In order to avoid a replay of rolling blackouts next summer, the California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to expedite rules to get more resources connected to the grid, avoiding the typical, years-long process. The new rulemaking considers temporary changes to resource adequacy, demand response, load shifting and other like programs and rules.  The commission […]

News Roundup: PG&E Sued for Geyserville Fire

18 Nov

Sonoma County, along with several cities, sued Pacific Gas & Electric for starting the October 2019 Kincaid Fire that burned nearly 78,000 acres and destroyed 384 buildings over 13 days. The joint lawsuit, filed in the Sonoma County Superior Court Nov. 17, alleges the utility was negligent and is responsible for the resulting four injures […]

The Buzz

12 Nov

Pacific Gas & Electric pitches a plan to transfer $7.5 billion of shareholder debt to ratepayers, which gets raked over the coals. Consumer advocates argue that substituting long-term ratepayer-backed bonds for the bankruptcy debt puts customers’ pocketbooks at risk and fails to meet legal requirements. Those mandates include that the financing be rate neutral and […]

San Francisco, San Jose Ban Gas in New Buildings

12 Nov

Natural gas use in new homes and commercial buildings will be banned in the City of San Francisco starting next June. Passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors on a preliminary vote this week, the prohibition will be formally approved Nov. 17. Last fall, the San Jose City Council voted unanimously to require all new […]

FERC Chair is Replaced

6 Nov

In a surprise move the evening of Nov. 5, President Trump replaced Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee with James Danly, the newest commissioner. Danly became the third commissioner in March. Chatterjee, after congratulating his fellow Republican Commissioner, noted his own tenure as chair was marked by the global pandemic. But he also highlighted […]

Feinstein and Barragan Take Aim at SoCal Gas for Astroturfing

29 Oct

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-CA) are demanding answers from Southern California Gas about its ongoing attempts to undermine California policy aimed at phasing out natural gas use. They specifically cite the company’s attacks against construction electrification ordinances and truck electrification. In an Oct. 29 letter to the head of the gas […]

The Old Must Yield to Clean Microgrids, Advocates Say

27 Oct

California is striving to attain a clean, reliable, and affordable grid, but getting there requires huge changes—from institutional to technological. Part and parcel of this transition is the age-old battle between the established and the newbies, with the former fighting to hold onto turf and the newcomers struggling to get some viable sod in an […]

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