Weekly Energy Digest for May 8, 2020

By Published On: May 8, 2020

A few energy-related news stories and commentaries we’ve been reading this week …


Regulators penalize PG&E for 2017, 2018 fires — but no $200 million fine

California utility regulators voted Thursday to penalize Pacific Gas and Electric Co. over the 2017 and 2018 wildfires it caused without forcing the company to pay a proposed $200 million fine. (San Francisco Chronicle, May 7)

‘High Usage Charge’ Cut to Give Some SDG&E Customers a Break Amid COVID-19 Restrictions

A decreasing number of San Diego Gas & Electric customers are affected by the dreaded “high usage charge” that can lead to spikes in their monthly bills during hot summer months but for those still on tiered rates, the California Public Utilities Commission made a move Thursday that could give them a financial break. (San Diego Union-Tribune, May 7)

PG&E is Hit with $1.9-Billion Penalty Over California Wildfires

California regulators approved a $1.9-billion penalty against PG&E Corp. for its role in sparking some of the worst wildfires in state history. (Los Angeles Times, May 7)

Why California Residents Could See Even More Blackouts This Wildfire Season

Utility PG&E may need to rely more heavily on “last-resort” power outages during this year’s upcoming wildfire season. (Green Tech Media, May 6)

Financial concerns raised about Clean Energy Alliance

Two Del Mar council members pushed this week to delay the start of the three-city Clean Energy Alliance, saying the economic future is too uncertain now to launch the alternative power provider. (San Diego Union-Tribune, May 6)

Lawsuit is part of larger effort to address a ‘mystery surcharge’ that some claim is ripping off California consumers. (San Diego Union-Tribune, May 4)

PG&E to Purge Most of its Board in Fallout from Bankruptcy

PG&E Corp. will sweep out three quarters of its board of directors to start with a mostly clean slate when it emerges from a bankruptcy case triggered by deadly wildfires ignited in Northern California by the utility’s neglected electrical grid. (Associated Press, May 1)

California Solar Industry Loses Over 15,000 Jobs, Companies Now Reopening and Rebuilding

The Grass Valley company isn’t alone. A new survey of over 200 solar companies by the California Solar and Storage Association, or CALSSA, shows that 21% of solar and storage businesses furloughed employees — that’s around 15,700 lost jobs in a month and a half. (Capital Public Radio, May 1)


Long Duration Breakthrough? Form Energy’s First Project Tries Pushing Storage to 150 Hours

Minnesota utility Great River Energy will use new storage technology from the Bill Gates-backed startup to replace coal power with dispatchable wind. (Green Tech Media, May 7)

Developer sPower Teams Up With Navajo Power to Replace Coal Plant With Solar

Solar heavyweight sPower and local startup Navajo Power are chasing a 200-megawatt deal with Arizona utility Salt River Project, but that’s just the beginning. (Green Tech Media, May 6)

Oil’s ‘Relief Rally’ Stalls After Prices Double

The rally raises hopes—but not confidence—that the mounting fuel glut won’t overwhelm the world’s capacity to store oil. (Wall Street Journal, May 6)

Occidental Petroleum is examining ways to lessen its roughly $40 billion debt load following a historic plunge in oil prices and an ill-timed acquisition, which have put the Texas energy producer on shaky footing. (Wall Street Journal, May 5)

Before Covid-19 and the oil-price rout, most of the world’s biggest energy companies had planned to sell billions in assets to help pay down debt and maintain dividends. Now, those divestment programs are in jeopardy. (Wall Street Journal, May 4)

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