Energy Exchange

SoCalGas wants a lifeline to stay in business — suing California is not the answer.

Earlier this month, the largest gas utility in the country filed a lawsuit against the state of California for its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Southern California Gas Company claims in its suit that the California Energy Commission has not properly considered what role natural gas can play in a clean energy future.

It is a pretty bold move from SoCalGas — the company that supplies a fossil fuel that inherently runs counter the long-term benefit of the environment, and was responsible for the massive 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak that for months on end sent nearly a hundred thousand tons of potent methane gas into the atmosphere.

This is a spurious argument aimed at advancing the false notion that gas utilities should continue to provide customers with gas, whether they want it or not.

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Posted in California, Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Rolling blackouts in California prove conventional power plants need to become extinct

On Monday this week, I got into my electric car and the following image popped up.

Image courtesy of electrek

My car was encouraging me to shift my charging patterns. Why?

California, along with large chunks of the rest of the West, is experiencing one of the worst heat storms on record. The weather pattern was abnormal, with less wind to cool people off at night. Since the heat storm hit most of the West, the ability to import power from our neighbors was also greatly compromised. The weather pattern also created over 11,000 lightning strikes, which sparked several wildfires throughout the state. In turn, those wildfires resulted in changed grid operations. Last, with more people staying home due to the Covid-19 pandemic, energy demands are higher and different than normal. As a result of all of these factors, the state’s electric grid operator issued an emergency alert, which triggered the state’s first rolling blackout in nearly two decades.

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Electric Vehicles, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

These two programs will help California reach its carbon-neutral goals

California is continuing its leadership on climate change by eliminating carbon from the economy and our daily lives. In fact, California has a law to create a carbon neutral electric grid by 2045.

This spring, our state took two important steps to support these efforts.

Decarbonizing our buildings

Approximately 25% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions come from residential buildings. Because these buildings come in all different shapes and sizes, we need different strategies to reduce their emissions.

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Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Storage, Gas to Clean, Solar Energy, Wind Energy / Comments are closed

California’s new long-term gas plan is a win for customers and the environment

As California moves to decarbonize its electric grid by 2045 and implement its broader economy-wide decarbonization targets, state regulators are beginning to develop a coordinated, equitable and cost-effective plan to proactively manage the transition of the legacy gas system.

Tomorrow, the California Public Utilities Commission is set to open a new rulemaking on its long-term gas planning, the first such rulemaking since 2004 — well before the state’s greenhouse gas laws went into effect. The California energy system has evolved dramatically in the last 15 years, which is why this type of planning is so important for customers, workers, the economy, and ultimately, the success of the state’s climate goals.

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Posted in California, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

California fires, electricity outages need not be “the new normal”

A dire, almost defeatist thread has been running through social media and other commentary around the California wildfires and the widespread, preemptive electricity outages across the state. The sense of urgency about catastrophic side effects of climate change is right on. And it is true that fixing our electric grid will be a long and mighty task.

But we do not —and should not — have to accept this as “the new normal.”

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Posted in Air Quality, California, Grid Modernization, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

Strategies for smarter, cleaner buildings in California

California’s buildings are one of the largest remaining emitters of greenhouse gases. Building emissions come from appliances that combust gas, such as water heaters and furnaces, but are also from our refrigerators, air conditioners and other heavy-duty appliances that are either always on or use a lot of electricity.

California has spent decades making our appliances more efficient through robust energy efficiency programs and other projects. But at a recent hearing at the California Energy Commission, lead Commissioner Andrew McAllister suggested a new vision for reducing the greenhouse gas pollution coming from our homes and buildings: What if the electrified devices in our home could talk to the electric grid?

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Posted in California, Demand Response, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas / Comments are closed