Energy Exchange

Clean firm power is the key to affordable, reliable grid decarbonization in California

California has ambitious efforts underway to decarbonize our electric grid by 2045. The choices we make today will help determine how affordably, equitably and reliably we can get there.

Renewables are an important piece of the puzzle, but we will also need something else. Renewable energy supplies can drop up to 60% between summer and winter months, due to cloudier skies and less-powerful winds. Short duration storage batteries can complement renewable generation production on a day-to-day basis, but they cannot pull the state through several weeks of reduced supply.

According to a recent study published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology, California will need to increase its renewable energy generation capacity while also tapping into clean firm power resources to meet these goals.

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Posted in California, Clean Energy, Renewable Energy / Comments are closed

What does it really mean for a gas utility to go net-zero?

SoCalGas – the nation’s largest gas utility recently pledged to go net-zero on their greenhouse gas emissions. At face value, this is a great move, but what does this really mean for a gas-only company that has had some major climate missteps in the past? And what are the implications for current and future SoCalGas customers?

Today, customers use natural gas for a variety of purposes — to warm our homes, to take hot showers, to cook hot meals. But as part of the transition to a cleaner energy economy, more and more customers are shifting to electric appliances to perform those same functions. That shift means that they will be leaving the gas system to a decarbonized electric grid.

That’s great news for the climate, but it’s less great news if you’re a gas-only company or if you’re one of the few gas customers left on the system, especially if you are a large industrial customer and there is not an electric alternative available for your business process.

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Posted in California, Gas to Clean, Natural Gas, New Jersey, New York / Comments are closed

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, 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