News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.
Government
State Bill Would Classify Burning Tires as 'Renewable Energy'

State Bill Would Classify Burning Tires as 'Renewable Energy'

Commentary: You think California passes some wacky laws? The Michigan Senate is now considering a bill that would classify burning tires to generate power as "renewable energy."
Romance May Have Derailed Science in California Energy Development

Romance May Have Derailed Science in California Energy Development

Government: The report details potential improper conduct by a senior adviser to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for energy, environment, and natural resources policy.
Bill Would Streamline Rooftop Solar Permits

Bill Would Streamline Rooftop Solar Permits

Photovoltaic (PV): A group of solar installers wearing hardhats descended on the State Capitol Tuesday to urge lawmakers to support a bill that would make it much easier to pull permits for rooftop solar projects.
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In Bay Area, Obama Announces New Solar, Conservation Programs

In Bay Area, Obama Announces New Solar, Conservation Programs

Solar: In Mountain View Friday, Barack Obama announced a set of new executive actions the White House will be taking to promote the domestic solar industry and energy conservation programs. They include spending an additional $2 billion to make federal buildings more energy-efficient, providing funding for solar job training programs at community colleges across the country, and a campaign to put solar on tens of thousands more homes, including low-income housing.
Sorting Fact From Fiction on Chinese Solar In Nevada

Sorting Fact From Fiction on Chinese Solar In Nevada

Commentary: Regardless of what you've heard, the BLM didn't round up Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's cattle from public lands to pave the way for a Chinese solar project.
California Regulators Protect Rooftop Solar From Utilities

California Regulators Protect Rooftop Solar From Utilities

Government: The state agency charged with regulating public utilities Thursday announced that Californians who sell utilities extra power from their rooftop solar arrays will be able to keep doing so at current rates for 20 years.
Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Departing Joshua Tree Superintendent Slams Desert Solar

Commentary: A 38-year veteran of the National Park Service who capped his career by spending three years running Joshua Tree National Park has come out against a solar project proposed for the central Mojave Desert in no uncertain terms.
Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Committee Hearing on Wind Energy and Eagles Deadlocks in Partisan Posturing

Commentary: What could have been an informative and illuminating hearing on Obama administration policy regarding wildlife and renewable energy turned out to be nearly two hours of partisan posturing.
National Park Service Slams Solar Project Near Mojave Preserve

National Park Service Slams Solar Project Near Mojave Preserve

Photovoltaic (PV): The National Park Service (NPS) isn't happy about a proposal to build a large solar facility on almost 4,200 acres next door to the Mojave National Preserve, citing the project's threats to wildlife, rare plants, groundwater, air quality, and wilderness characteristics of the 1.6 million acre Preserve.
Local Group Wants Renewable Development in L.A., Not Owens Valley

Local Group Wants Renewable Development in L.A., Not Owens Valley

Commentary: California's second-largest county wants to designate almost ten percent of its land for renewable energy development, and a cultural protection group is taking up metaphorical arms against the core of the proposed policy. In doing so, it's turning NIMBYism on its head.
IRS: Renewables Companies May Be Double-Dipping Federal Subsidies

IRS: Renewables Companies May Be Double-Dipping Federal Subsidies

Policy: Federally subsidized wind turbine and solar facility owners may be double-dipping federal subsidies, according to a report by a division of the Internal Revenue Service.
Power Lost by Shuttered Nuclear Plant May Be Replaced With Renewable Energy

Power Lost by Shuttered Nuclear Plant May Be Replaced With Renewable Energy

Natural Gas: The state agency responsible for regulating California's public utilities has proposed a plan for adjusting to the loss of power from the shuttered San Onofre nuclear power plant, and part of that plan involves generating a lot more renewable energy -- though environmental activists say the plan could be a lot better.
SOTU: A Few Interesting Energy Moments and What They Could Mean

SOTU: A Few Interesting Energy Moments and What They Could Mean

Commentary: A couple of notable mentions of energy policy in the the President's State of the Union actually represent a departure of sorts from past policies, at least if you read between the lines. And just as notable, in the energy realm, were the things that went unmentioned.
Departing Public Utilities Commissioner Has Strong Words For Utilities, Legislators

Departing Public Utilities Commissioner Has Strong Words For Utilities, Legislators

Government: Revealing that his fight against prostate cancer has taken a turn for the worse, California Public Utilities Commissioner Mark J. Ferron resigned Thursday from his seat on the CPUC. In the process, he made a remarkable statement about the future of energy in California in which he had some startling things to say about both California utilities and the state's legislators.
California's Carbon Market a Success in its First Year, Report Finds

California's Carbon Market a Success in its First Year, Report Finds

Climate Change: Despite earlier gloomy prognostications that California's greenhouse gas cap and trade system would violate the law and tank the state's economy, the program's first year has been a remarkable success according to a new report by the Environmental Defense Fund.
Obama Nominee for BLM Gets Mixed Reception From Pols, Enviros

Obama Nominee for BLM Gets Mixed Reception From Pols, Enviros

Government: The White House has announced its choice for the new head of the Bureau of Land Management, and the nomination may well signal an intent to continue the aggressive development of renewable energy facilities on public lands that has characterized the Obama administration's energy policy over last five years.
Desert Solar Project Faces New Delay

Desert Solar Project Faces New Delay

Government: The people who want to build the 500-megawatt Palen Solar Electric Generating System in Riverside County have made no secret of the fact that delays in approval could doom the project. And now an odd bit of procedural wonkery threatens to add to that delay.
Solar Project Will Cause Unavoidable Damage to Wildlife

Solar Project Will Cause Unavoidable Damage to Wildlife

Concentrating Solar: The proposed Palen Solar Electric Generating System will cause damage to wild bird populations that cannot be mitigated, and poses significant risk to fringe-toed lizards and desert kit foxes as well according to testimony offered at a state agency hearing on the project. And part of the problem is that solar companies aren't monitoring wildlife injuries well enough.
BLM Solar Auction a Big Flop: Decentralized Solar to Blame?

BLM Solar Auction a Big Flop: Decentralized Solar to Blame?

Commentary: The San Luis Valley in Colorado has been incredibly attractive to solar developers in the past, with at least three solar facilities already producing power and more on the drawing board. Why were there no takers?
Solar Project Comments Extended Due To Shutdown

Solar Project Comments Extended Due To Shutdown

Government: The Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday that it's extending the public comment period on a proposed desert solar project in Riverside County until November 14 to make up for October's shutdown of the federal government.
California's Power Storage Mandate is Vaguely Written, But That Might be a Good Thing

California's Power Storage Mandate is Vaguely Written, But That Might be a Good Thing

The Grid: A ruling by a state commission requires the state's largest utilities to develop more than 1,300 megawatts of electrical power storage by 2020 but doesn't specify an actual capacity for that storage. That's led some tech-savvy members of the public to raise an eyebrow, but one expert says that's not a huge problem.
2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

2 Desert Solar Plants May Harm Thousands of Tortoises

Wildlife: A federal agency estimates that more than 2,000 desert tortoises may currently occupy the sites of a pair of large planned desert solar projects that would straddle the California/Nevada state line, but says developing the projects won't harm the species.
California Moves Toward Power Storage Future, But How Much?

California Moves Toward Power Storage Future, But How Much?

The Grid: California's three largest utilities must obtain a significant amount of electrical power storage capacity by 2020, and that capacity must be online by 2024. That's according to the state agency that regulates utilities. But how much?
Hearings on Large Solar Project May Proceed Without Federal Input

Hearings on Large Solar Project May Proceed Without Federal Input

Government: As the federal government shutdown drags on through its third week, scheduled hearings by a state agency on a massive solar project in the California desert may lack input and guidance from a number of federal agencies charged with ensuring the project doesn't pose a danger to wildlife or public safety.
Shutdown Depriving Public of Right to Comment on Solar Project

Shutdown Depriving Public of Right to Comment on Solar Project

Government: The ongoing shutdown of the Federal government has thrown a monkey wrench into public review of a large solar power plant proposed for the California desert, and there's no way to find out how the federal government plans to address the issue.
California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

California Governor Signs Controversial Solar Bill, Among Others

Government: Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill Monday that would change how the state regulates rooftop solar owners' agreements with utilities, but he encouraged the state agency responsible for crafting the new rules to protect the interests of current solar owners.
Government Shutdown Will Likely Delay Renewable Energy Projects

Government Shutdown Will Likely Delay Renewable Energy Projects

Government: A number of California renewable energy projects that had been undergoing environmental review by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) may well be delayed, as staff are furloughed and schedules slip.
5 Things California's Fracking Bill Will Do

5 Things California's Fracking Bill Will Do

Government: Senate Bill 4, the bill that enacts new regulation of fracking in the state of California, has come under fire from environmental groups. Its author, State Senator Fran Pavley, says critics are blowing the bill's flaws out of proportion. But what does the bill actually do?
The LADWP Now Has a New Board

The LADWP Now Has a New Board

Government: L.A.'s Mayor announced the overhaul of the board last month amid heated talks over a labor contract covering 90 percent of employees at the city-owned utility.
New LADWP Board Close to Confirmation

New LADWP Board Close to Confirmation

Government: Photo: waltarrrrr/Flickr/Creative Commons License A Los Angeles City Council committee cleared four mayoral nominees on Monday to join the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. The Energy and Environment Committee signed off on Mayor Eric Garcetti's slate of appointees to...
Native Group: Feds Not Following Consulting Rules on Blythe Solar Project

Native Group: Feds Not Following Consulting Rules on Blythe Solar Project

Photovoltaic (PV): A group concerned with the preservation of Native sacred sites in the Colorado River valley has charged that the Federal Government isn't reaching out to local Native people as the law requires.
EPA Releases Videos for Fighting Climate Change In Your Daily Life

EPA Releases Videos for Fighting Climate Change In Your Daily Life

Climate Change: The EPA has released a series of videos on everyday actions you can take to slow down climate change, aimed at those of us who haven't yet devoted our entire waking lives to worrying about the issue of greenhouse gas emissions.
It's Getting Cheaper to Pollute in California

It's Getting Cheaper to Pollute in California

Climate Change: And some climate activists are saying this isn't necessarily bad news. We explain the math using items you can find in your kitchen.
Group Objects to Giant Solar Plant Near Manzanar Historic Site

Group Objects to Giant Solar Plant Near Manzanar Historic Site

Photovoltaic (PV): Manzanar was the site of a shameful chapter in California's history, where thousands of Japanese Americans were imprisoned on account of their ethnicity. Now a utility wants to cover up that history with solar panels.
New Solar Energy Zone in California Desert

New Solar Energy Zone in California Desert

Government: The new zone is California's third. All told, that means the Interior department has declared 164,391 acres of the California Desert as Solar Energy Zones.
Where to Put that Solar Energy Plant? EPA's Upgraded Map Will Help

Where to Put that Solar Energy Plant? EPA's Upgraded Map Will Help

Government: One of the most promising tools the federal government has ever created for finding good spots for renewable energy development just got an upgrade.
Federal Housing Agency Gets in the Way of Rooftop Solar

Federal Housing Agency Gets in the Way of Rooftop Solar

Conservation: A Tuesday announcement in Sacramento, however, shows that the program can still work for energy efficiency upgrades at commercial properties.
San Bernardino County Extends Solar Moratorium

San Bernardino County Extends Solar Moratorium

Solar: California's largest county now has a year-long moratorium in place on new solar facilities
How the L.A. Times Got It Wrong on Desert Wind Energy

How the L.A. Times Got It Wrong on Desert Wind Energy

Wind: The paper published an editorial calling for state and federal agencies to give wind energy a far bigger slice of the pie when portioning out the California desert. Here's why they got it badly wrong.
State Agency Getting Spanked Over Gas Pipeline Safety

State Agency Getting Spanked Over Gas Pipeline Safety

Government: The agency charged with ensuring the state's energy infrastructure doesn't endanger public safety is being taken to the woodshed by Federal regulators in the wake of a 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes.
Climate Change Policy to Play a Big Role Under EPA's New Boss

Climate Change Policy to Play a Big Role Under EPA's New Boss

Climate Change: Gina McCarthy, the incoming Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), delivered a video address to EPA staff Monday that leaves no doubt addressing climate change will be a priority on her watch.
Senate Confirms New Head of EPA

Senate Confirms New Head of EPA

Government: The U.S. Senate voted today to confirm Regina "Gina" McCarthy as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The long-delayed confirmation had been a bargaining chip in a partisan battle over the Obama administration's energy policy.
A New Era for Public Lands: Feds Halt Mining Claims in Solar Areas

A New Era for Public Lands: Feds Halt Mining Claims in Solar Areas

Government: Mining interests have had nearly unchallenged access to most public lands since 1872, when Congress passed the General Mining Act and sent it to the white house, where Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law.
Obama's Climate Plan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Obama's Climate Plan: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Climate Change: His long-awaited Climate Action Plan contains some overdue good ideas -- and some outdated bad ones.
Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

Midwest Court Ruling May Ease Energy Sales Into California

The Grid: A ruling by a Midwest federal court may force California to buy renewable energy from out of state whether it wants to or not.
Energy Commission Sued Over Location of New Natural Gas Plants

Energy Commission Sued Over Location of New Natural Gas Plants

Natural Gas: "Families in surrounding neighborhoods of proposed power plants and cities alike have been frustrated for years by the lack of judicial review of Energy Commission siting and permitting decisions. When communities are denied their day in court, democracy unravels and pollution ensues."
'Don't Tax the Sun!' Riverside County Slashes Solar Power Plant Fee

'Don't Tax the Sun!' Riverside County Slashes Solar Power Plant Fee

Solar: Riverside County has cut the fee it wants to charge for utility-scale solar power developments in the county by two-thirds, following a contentious campaign by the solar industry to get the fee rolled back.
Wind Industry Depends On Tax Credits More Than Other Renewables

Wind Industry Depends On Tax Credits More Than Other Renewables

Wind: The question is, does all that investment make sense for an energy source that is less than predictable?
Proposed Federal Fracking Rules Favor Industry

Proposed Federal Fracking Rules Favor Industry

Government: "Fracking has been done safely for decades," said Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. "There is no doubt that this essential tool will be used for decades to come."
Architect of Public Lands Solar Policy to Leave Interior

Architect of Public Lands Solar Policy to Leave Interior

Government: As second-in-command at Interior, Hayes oversaw the implementation of Interior's development of programs such as the Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and its fast-tracking of wind energy developments on public lands.