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One Clean Microgrid Bill Sails Ahead, Challenges Ahead for Another with Buried Cable

20 Apr

Local agencies would get needed guidance on the best places to site clean, stand-alone microgrids under a bill that’s gaining traction. Passing out of the Senate Energy Utilities & Communication Committee on a 12-0 vote April 19, SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) also comes with money for the microgrids and emphasizes their siting […]

The Buzz

15 Apr

State energy regulators pull a fast one and decide not to vote on a safety certification for Pacific Gas & Electric that their Wildfire Safety Division granted. Local power and ratepayer advocates, who have urged the California Public Commission to deny PG&E’s certification, are livid. The commission does vote to step up its oversight of […]

Federal Regulators Take Steps to Lower Utility Incentives, Integrate State Carbon Pricing

15 Apr

Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree on the need for better transmission efficiency and a build out of high voltage lines. But the five commissioners strongly disagree on incentives for utilities that participate in independent and regional transmission organizations, which are responsible for grid modernizations. To protect ratepayers, FERC proposed April 15 on […]

California Prepares for Worsening Wildfires

13 Apr

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law April 13 a legislative package providing $536 million in emergency funding for wildfire prevention and response. “California is taking bold, early action to protect our high-risk communities from the upcoming wildfire season before it starts,” Newsom said. Proceeds from the state’s Carbon Cap-and-Trade program and its General Fund provided […]

The Buzz

8 Apr

A week after a national report found that the City of Los Angeles could be powered fully by renewables by 2035, the City Council gives SoCalGas’ Playa del Rey underground gas storage field the thumbs down. It’s a gesture welcome by clean energy advocates but holds little clout. Environmentalists call on the city council to […]

News Roundup: LA City Council Pressures SoCalGas to Close Playa del Rey Field

8 Apr

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously April 7 to close the Playa del Rey underground natural gas storage facility owned by Southern California Gas. The Playa del Rey field is smaller but considered riskier than the Aliso Canyon gas storage field. The Playa facility, which is near the LA International Airport, is located in […]

Sonoma County DA Charges PG&E with Five Felonies

6 Apr

The Sonoma County District Attorney filed criminal charges against Pacific Gas & Electric April 6, alleging it ignited the Oct. 23, 2019, Kincaid Fire. It harmed six fire fighters, destroyed 374 buildings, and torched nearly 78,000 acres of land over a period of two weeks. The utility also was charged with causing air pollution through […]

Commission Proposal Okays PG&E $7.5B Ratepayer Bonds

31 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission is on the verge of green lighting Pacific Gas & Electric’s plan to issue an unprecedented $7.5 billion in ratepayer-backed bonds to cover part of its 2017 wildfire liability. Rejecting multiple intervenors’ warnings about possible ratepayer harm, the Commission proposal specifically would allow PG&E to refinance its $6 billion short-term […]

Shorts

29 Mar

The state snowpack is 59% of the April 1 average, at 16.5 inches, the Department of Water Resources announced. The key measuring station at Phillip’s Station in South Lake Tahoe had a snow depth of 83% of average, at 21 inches. “While the Southern Sierra remains well below average for both rain and snow, the […]

PG&E to Launch Community Microgrid Program, CPUC Will Vote on New Load Shedding

18 Mar

The California Public Utilities Commission gave the go-ahead March 18 for Pacific Gas & Electric to activate the community microgrid resiliency program approved last June. PG&E will start providing early input to communities on their proposed microgrids, advising on the best locations. The utility also will spend up to $3 million upgrading distribution lines, grid […]

SCE Seeks to Curb Shutoffs this Summer

2 Mar

Southern California Edison believes its latest summer grid hardening plan will avoid a repeat of last year’s 16 public safety shutoffs, utility representatives told the California Public Utilities Commission March 1. SCE was required to submit a corrective action plan last month to the CPUC after getting raked over the coals during a Jan. 26 […]

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 […]

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 […]

SoCal Edison Takes Heat Over Power Shutoffs

27 Jan

State officials excoriated Southern California Edison Tuesday over its extensive power shutoffs last year, including over Thanksgiving and the Christmas holiday, awarding it the Hall of Shame prize for 2020. It was previously reserved for Pacific Gas & Electric. PG&E was raked over the coals by regulators and politicians for the harm and disruption caused […]

Bill Provides Backing for Microgrids in Struggling Communities

19 Jan

A proposed bill in the state Senate would address the growing gap in who is able to set up microgrids in California by providing support to communities seeking energy resilience. SB 99 by Sen. Bill Dodd (D-Napa) creates a statewide grant and technical assistance program to help local governments increase installations of clean community microgrids […]

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. […]

Community Microgrid Advocates Left Waiting by CPUC

14 Jan

California is committed on paper to advancing private and public microgrids to protect communities from wildfire shutoffs, but a key step just taken by regulators favors projects advanced by the investor-owned utilities. A California Public Utilities Commission decision approved 4-0 on Jan. 14 makes way for the installation of 30 microgrids to power critical facilities—from […]

Newsom Proposes $2.5B for Electric Transportation & Fire Mitigation

11 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 budget proposes spending more than $1.5 billion to accelerate electric and other non-fossil fueled vehicles and charging stations, particularly in polluted poor communities. He also plans to direct another $1 billion to reduce wildfire risks in high threat areas—forests and communities.  Newsom’s proposal released Jan. 8 highlights significant exacerbation of climate […]

New Problem at Diablo Nuclear Plant’s Unit 2 Causes 3rd Shut Down

7 Jan

Correction made Jan. 21 Half of California’s sole remaining nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, is offline for the third time in six months, and it’s not expected to be back in continuous service for several more weeks. The plant’s 1,150 megawatt Unit 2 went down Dec. 2. Both of the unit’s two unplanned outages earlier last […]

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 […]

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