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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 […]

News Roundup: PG&E Seeks $2B more for Past Fire Costs

1 Oct

Pacific Gas & Electric is asking the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to charge ratepayers another $2 billion for costs of the 2017 wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. It also wants approval to sell its century-old headquarters in San Francisco. The utility seeks “$1.18 billion in expense and $801 million in capital expenditures, which […]

CPUC, not SCE, Calls Shots on Ratepayer Bonds, Lawmaker Says

1 Oct

Southern California Edison is threatening to use pricier financing to recoup $337 million in wildfire costs if the California Public Utilities Commission doesn’t okay its controversial plan to issue bonds fully secured by ratepayers. SCE says it will recover the costs “through traditional utility financing, which will cost customers more,” in an opening brief filed […]

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 […]

PG&E Preventive Shutoffs Continue in Sonoma, Napa & Shasta

29 Sep

Hot strong winds forecast for this past Sunday and Monday drove Pacific Gas & Electric to shut off power to 65,000 customers in parts of 15 counties.  As of mid-day on Sept. 28, 37,000 customers remained without power. The number fell to 24,000 customers by end of the day on Monday. Power remained shut off […]

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 […]

Shoddy Solar Contracting Spurs Fund

22 Sep

Substandard rooftop solar work has become a significant enough problem in some communities that the California Public Utilities Commission may create a fund to address claims from aggrieved residential ratepayers. Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves proposes adding $12 to each new solar interconnection to fund a $1.6 million net energy metering recovery fund annually. The investor-owned […]

Shorts

22 Sep

Silicon Valley Clean Energy launched an online resource platform to help customers understand the benefits of switching to fully electric homes. “With eHub, we want consumers to be empowered to make decisions that will improve their quality of life while also lowering their carbon footprint,” Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO, said Sept. 23. The aggregator’s eHub […]

The Buzz

18 Sep

Groundbreaking action by federal regulators requires grid operators to open their doors to aggregated power from energy storage, solar rooftops, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. CAISO is ahead of the regional transmission operator pack, but the new rule is expected to ease the way for more clean distributed resources into its grid. The Federal Energy […]

FERC Clears Way for Small Energy Systems

17 Sep

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted 2-1 to require grid operators to eliminate market barriers to aggregated rooftop solar, storage, energy efficiency and other clean energy resources on the distribution system. Transmission operators must rework their tariffs within nine months of the new rule’s implementation to include aggregated distributed resources as market participants in a […]

FERC Investigates California August Outages

17 Sep

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee announced Thursday that his agency is looking into what caused a shortage of electricity that led to rolling outages in California on Aug. 14 and 15. He said he is concerned about heat related events and wildfires. “Climate change is increasing the ferocity and number of weather events,” […]

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