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Closer Scrutiny for Rising Utility Bills

16 Jul

The California Public Utilities Commission July 16 adopted a groundbreaking blueprint for judging the affordability of all essential utility services, from power to water, for struggling ratepayers. No California agency has ever evaluated the reasonableness of combined utility costs for low income customers, who have been hit hard by shelter-at-home rules and resulting unemployment.   […]

CPUC Sets 46 MMT Carbon Target for Power Sector

26 Mar

In a first-ever telephonic business meeting plagued with technical glitches, the California Public Utilities Commission approved adding another 25,000 MW of renewable resources and allowing some gas generation to continue over the next decade. The path is intended to ensure electricity sector greenhouse gas emissions fall to 46 million metric tons by 2030. The 5-0 […]

State Budget to Dedicate $2B to Climate Protection

13 Jan

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s 2020-21 state spending plan released Jan. 10 would spend $1.7 billion to reduce the impacts of climate change. The proposal includes investments in low carbon emission projects, wildfire mitigation, environmental equity, and alternative energy jobs in the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1. “The state’s goals are clear. Californians must have […]

CA New Green Deal Pitched

7 Jan

California lawmakers unveiled a state Green New Deal Jan. 6. “Just like with the original New Deal by FDR in 1932 that lifted America out of the Great Depression, we too must now harness all of our people power, political capital and courage to meet today’s greatest challenge—the clear and present danger of climate change,” […]

Undercurrents

6 Jan

The snow depth and water content of the state’s snowpack is a bit below average, the Department of Water Resources reported Jan. 2. The average snow water equivalent at 130 stations across the state was 90 percent of the average for early January. The snowpack at Phillips Station in South Lake Tahoe was at 97 […]

Shorts

2 Apr

Snow depth and snow water equivalent is 200 percent of average, or 51 inches, at the Department of Water Resources’ Sierra measuring station. DWR’s final snow survey for the season conducted April 2, also revealed that the Sierra Nevada snowpack is 162 percent of average. “With full reservoirs and a dense snowpack, this year is practically […]

Climate Roundup: CARB Warns of GHG Reduction Shortfall

26 Nov

California’s hopes of meeting its 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal by 2030 are fading, according to a report by the California Air Resources Board dated November 2018. The progress report on the state’s efforts to achieve sustainable community development under SB 375 shows state residents are driving more. That’s particularly true for working […]

Shorts

2 Jul

CR&R Environmental, a waste management company in Perris, has begun injecting renewable natural gas into the SoCal Gas pipeline system, the utility announced July 2. The gas will be used to power 400 CR&R waste hauling trucks based at another location. CR&R produces the gas from green waste it collects in Southern California and then […]

Undercurrents

30 May

The state Senate passed two energy bills May 29. One seeks to use excess renewable energy to create hydrogen and the other to provide funds to fill the local financial gap that will accompany closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in San Luis Obispo. Lawmakers approved SB 1369 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), which […]

SMUD Approves WaterFix Environmental Document

20 Feb

The California WaterFix project, a potential $16 billion dollar public works plan to divert water from the state’s largest delta in order to improve water supplies, has moved a little closer to reality after a Feb. 15 vote by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s board. On a 7-0 vote, the SMUD board approved findings within […]

New Energy Bills Pile Up Before Deadline

14 Feb

As lawmakers work furiously to meet a Feb. 15 deadline for introducing new legislation in Sacramento, numerous energy-related measures were introduced as of Feb. 13. In the Senate, new measures would backfill the loss of local government revenue in San Luis Obispo County projected to result from the upcoming closure of the Diablo Canyon nuclear […]

Public-Private San Joaquin Transmission Line In the Works

1 Feb

A 600 MW transmission project in the San Joaquin Valley to begin service in 2023 to power water pumping in this region from the large federal Central Valley Water Project was announced Jan. 31. This San Luis Transmission Project is being developed jointly by the Western Area Power Administration, the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water […]

Shorts

21 Aug

Dan Kammen, a University of California professor and chair of the Energy & Resources Group, quit his job as the State Department’s science envoy. His Aug. 23 resignation was in response to President Trump saying the actions of the neo-Nazi groups and civil rights advocates in Charlottesville we are on par. He said Trump’s words […]

Can Clean Power Avoid Gas Plant Rebuilds, LADWP Asks

6 Jun

The Los Angeles Department of Water & Power has halted efforts to repower its existing natural gas-fired power plants in the Los Angeles Basin until it can conduct a system-wide assessment of whether the plants will be needed in the future. At a June 6 meeting of the muni’s board, staff outlined its plan to […]

Climate Roundup: U.S. Energy-Related Emissions Fall as Coal Declines

11 Apr

Last year, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use were 1.7 percent below 2015 levels.  Carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 were pegged at 5.17 million metric tons, the Energy Information Administration reported April 10. The decline was even greater in the electric power sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions fall 4.9 percent. Last year’s decrease […]

Shorts

28 Mar

The March 30 state snow survey shows the snowpack is at 164 percent of the historical average, at 45.8 inches, meaning high river flows and full reservoirs. “California enters the snowmelt season with a large snowpack that will result in high water in many rivers through the spring,” said Michael Anderson, state climatologist. Electronic measurements […]

Ocean Water Use at Coastal Power Plants Declines Faster than Required by State Policy

9 Mar

Use of ocean water for cooling thermal power plants along California’s coast is substantially below what’s required by the State Water Resources Control Board’s policy to phase out use of seawater, a March 8 California Energy Commission analysis shows. First, plant owners have re-powered many facilities to eliminate use of ocean water and have shut […]

SHORTS

1 Mar

California’s Feb. 22 carbon emissions rights auction showed little demand based on results released March 1. Fewer than one-fifth of the 2017 allowances offered for sale actually sold. Interest was even more lackluster for 2020 allowances, with only about 7 percent of those offered selling. Both types of allowances went for $13.57 a ton. The […]

Shorts

15 Feb

The California Department of Water Resources was ordered this week to perform a “forensic analysis” of the failure of the spillway at Oroville Dam by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC, which licenses dams that produce hydropower like Oroville, also ordered the department to convene an independent board of consultants to review the situation and […]

Climate Roundup: Lawmakers Advised to Pass Cap & Trade & Broaden Auction Revenue Uses

14 Feb

The Legislative Analyst recommends that legislators authorize a state carbon cap-and-trade program by a two-thirds vote to make it resilient to future legal challenges and to give the California Air Resources Board authority to keep the market-based program in place after 2020. Lawmakers also should give the Air Board “clearer direction” on “whether complementary policies […]