Weekly Energy Digest for June 5, 2020

By Published On: June 5, 2020

Some energy-related news stories we’ve been reading this week …


How Stay-at-Home Orders Derailed Energy Savings for Solana Beach

Last month, the Solana Beach community choice energy program reduced the discount it offers customers compared to San Diego Gas & Electric from 3 percent to 1 percent to shore up its bottom line. Now, board members are on the verge of eliminating the discount altogether because of the financial effects the COVID-19 pandemic are projected to have on the standalone community choice aggregation, or CCA, program that serves about 7,000 Solana Beach customers. (San Diego Union-Tribune, June 5)

Fire Victims Challenge PG&E Bankruptcy Plans

PG&E Corp. heads into a third and final day of court fights Friday, with concerns a last-minute protest from fire victims could upend plans by the utility to raise $9 billion in fresh capital to get it out of bankruptcy. Demands for an examiner to probe the voting process are before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali, who must rule on PG&E’s chapter 11 plan. (Market Watch, June 4)

PG&E Behind on Promises to Ease Effect of Power Shut-Offs

California’s chief utility regulators and a Pacific Gas & Electric executive are testifying that the utility is behind on installing devices meant to ease the severity of power shut-offs during potential wildfires. They also said the utility hasn’t yet hired and trained emergency response specialists in each county. The testimony came during a hearing Thursday of the California Senate’s committee on utilities. (Bakersfield Now, June 4)

As PG&E Highlights Potential Need for Fossil Fuels to Address Power Shut-offs, Groups Press for More Storage

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) could need to use diesel and natural gas generators to power communities affected by public safety power shut-offs (PSPS) beyond the 2020 fire season “as a necessary bridge until non-fossil-fueled alternatives are available,” according to comments filed by the utility last week. (Utility Dive, June 2)

PG&E Could Become a Nonprofit Someday Under California Bill

California lawmakers may still create a path to overhaul PG&E Corp.’s structure even though the company is poised to remain an investor-owned business after its expected emergence from bankruptcy this year. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 31)


Trump to Sign Executive Order Expediting Infrastructure Projects

The order will waive environmental requirements for projects like pipelines in the name of the economic emergency brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. (US News, June 4)

OPEC+ Set to Extend Oil Cuts As Meeting Called For Weekend

OPEC+ is set to extend production cuts to prop up the oil market after a breakthrough in high-stakes negotiations, with the alliance meeting on Saturday to sign off on the deal. (Bloomberg News, June 4)

Wind turbines helped Britain pass a milestone: In 2019, more electricity was generated from sources like wind and solar and nuclear power that produce no carbon-dioxide emissions than from carbon-emitting fuels like natural gas and coal. (New York Times, June 4)

The idea is to try to stake out a vast new area of the oceans for the wind power industry. Generating electricity from wind began on land, but developers, led by Orsted of Denmark, started venturing into the sea in the early 1990s as they sought wide-open spaces and to escape the objections of neighbors to having a twirling monster next door. (New York Times, June 4)

As the country grapples with the coronavirus’s devastating toll, states are eyeing investment in transmission lines as a way to jump-start economic recovery while meeting clean energy targets. A proposed rule from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeks to boost such investment, but critics worry that it could pad the pockets of existing transmission owners without spurring new development. (E&E News, June 4)

Black & Veatch Supporting Western Power Agency on First Hydrogen-Capable Combined Cycle Units, Helping to Curb Carbon Emissions

As the global pursuit of decarbonization continues to transform the energy mix, Black & Veatch is helping Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) transition to green hydrogen as it works to substantially decrease and ultimately minimize its carbon footprint across Utah, Nevada and California. (Olean Times Herald, June 3)

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced that it had limited states’ ability to block the construction of energy infrastructure projects, part of the Trump administration’s goal of promoting gas pipelines, coal terminals and other fossil fuel development. (New York Times, June 1)

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