Weekly Energy Digest for May 1, 2020

By Published On: May 1, 2020

A few energy-related news stories we’ve been reading (or listening to) this week …


A 770-ton Chunk of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is Getting Shipped to Utah

A mammoth chunk of the old Unit 1 facility at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is getting shipped by rail to a disposal site in Utah. The reactor pressure vessel, which held nuclear fuel to generate electricity at Unit 1 from 1968 to 1992, has been sitting on the north end of the plant for 18 years. (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 30)

California Eyes Expedited Microgrid Deployment to Help with Fire Season Power Shut-Offs

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposal Wednesday that would require utilities to speed up the deployment of microgrids and other projects that could help customers during wildfire-related safety power shut-offs. (Utility Dive, April 30)

PG&E Ordered by Judge to Overhaul Tree Trimming, Line Inspections

A federal judge is ordering PG&E Corp. PCG -3.75% to overhaul its tree-trimming and power line inspection practices after the company pleaded guilty to state manslaughter charges for sparking the deadliest wildfire in California history. (Wall Street Journal/San Francisco Chronicle, April 30)

Fires are Coming, but PG&E and Some Cities are Holding Up Battery Backups

But as the coronavirus brought much of daily life to a halt, problems mounted for Terre’s solar-plus-storage project. Sebastopol closed its permit office. And PG&E stopped doing the on-site work that many home solar installations need to move forward. (Los Angeles Times, April 29)

Wall Street Ties of Lawyer for PG&E Fire Victims Have Some Survivors Querying Settlement Vote

A potential conflict of interest on the part of a lawyer representing PG&E fire victims is prompting questions about the integrity of an ongoing vote by fire survivors on their multi-billion-dollar compensation deal with the utility. (KQED, April 29)

Businesses with Big Drops in Electricity Consumption During Pandemic: Car Dealers, Dry cleaners, Restaurants

Want to know how much the COVID-19 outbreak has affected businesses? A good indication comes by simply measuring how much electricity they’re using. (San Diego Union-Tribune, April 29)


In just over a month, scores of drilling rigs have been dismantled and tucked away in storage yards. Pump jacks, those piston pumps that lift crude out of the ground, have seesawed to a standstill as operators shut down wells. (New York Times, May 1)

Billions in Clean Energy Loans Go Unused as Coronavirus Ravages Economy

As Congress rushes out trillions of dollars to prop up businesses, the Energy Department is holding on to tens of billions in clean energy loans. (New York Times, April 30)

The oil major’s decision to reduce its dividend for the first time since World War II is a sensible long-term move in a crisis of uncertainty for the industry. (Wall Street Journal, April 30)

Venezuela’s government is proposing a sweeping overhaul of its energy industry, scaling back the state’s role and handing over greater control to private companies in an effort to boost plummeting oil output. (Wall Street Journal, April 29)

A Glut of Oil: This is the Energy Crisis Nobody Saw Coming

Something weird happened last week. It was something that millions of people who have faced years of painful prices at the gas pump never expected: The cost of a barrel of oil dropped into the negatives. In this podcast, we explore why this happened, and what it reveals about the state of the economy. (New York Times, April 27)

Last week energy speculators got roasted by the plunge in U.S. oil futures prices to negative $40 a barrel as they were forced to take a loss rather than accept physical delivery. Those in the industry already were aware that a crunch was coming. (Wall Street Journal, April 27)

The City that Never Sleeps is Waking Up Later

Some 400 special electric meters in New York apartments provide a shifting view of power use while people are stuck inside. (New York Times, April 29)

About the Author: Staff

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