Start watching
Tending Nature poster 2021

Tending Nature

Start watching

Southland Sessions

Start watching

Earth Focus

Start watching

Reporter Roundup

Start watching

City Rising

Start watching

Lost LA

Start watching
Your donation supports our high-quality, inspiring and commercial-free programming.
Support Icon
Learn about the many ways to support KCET.
Support Icon
Contact our Leadership, Advancement, Membership and Special Events teams.

State Tosses More Cash at Geothermal, Alternative Vehicles

Northeastern California's Surprise Valley will be explored as a possible source of geothermal power | Photo:sleepinyourhat/Flickr/Creative Commons License

The California agency responsible for implementing the state's energy policy will be pumping a new infusion of cash into alternative vehicles, geothermal energy, and energy efficiency in coming months.

At its first business meeting for the year, held January 14 in Sacramento, the California Energy Commission voted to plow $12 million into three alternative-fueled vehicle programs in California, as well as putting $4 million into geothermal power research and development, and lending $3.5 million to two California cities for energy efficiency upgrades.

The grants announced this month total around $16.3 million, not including the loans. But not all that expenditure is going toward getting the state off fossil fuels: more than half the total, or $11.2 million, comes in the form of a grant to the Regents of the University of California to promote the use of natural-gas-fueled vehicles.

On the more potentially carbon-neutral side, the U.S. General Services Administration will be getting $600,000 to expand its network of electric car charging stations in the state, and another $300,000 will go to the Linde LLC corporation to maintain and collect data from at that company's hydrogen refueling station in West Sacramento.

Meanwhile, the northeast corner of the state is getting some Energy Commission support for expanding its geothermal infrastructure. The Modoc Joint Unified School District in Modoc County is getting $3.1 million to expand the district's geothermal school heating network, adding two more public schools and a public swimming pool in Alturas. Another $1.1 million will go to explore geothermal resources in the Surprise Valley, a hot-spring-filled plain on the border with Nevada.

The loans, made through the Energy Conservation Assistance Act program, include $3 million to San Mateo to upgrade street lighting to energy-efficient LED fixtures, and $562,000 to Morro Bay for upgrades to its heating and cooling systems.

Natural gas vehicles, such as those to be promoted by the UC Regents with the Energy Commission's help, are considered alternative-fueled vehicles because they can produce much less carbon dioxide per vehicle mile than conventionally fueled vehicles. That's because natural gas is primarily methane, a fuel with the highest energy-per-carbon ratio of any fossil fuel. But that doesn't take into account the issue of fugitive methane leaking from gas wells and pipelines. Unburned methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, with each pound of the gas contributing as much to global warming as 34 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Support Provided By
Support Provided By
Read More
un mazo de juez de madera

Justicia retrasada: tribunales abrumados por el atraso de la pandemia

Desde la manutención de los hijos hasta el fraude de seguros, los casos judiciales se retrasan en todo California. Solo la mitad de los casos civiles y penales se resolvieron el verano pasado en comparación con las cifras anteriores a la pandemia. “La justicia no se ha cerrado. La justicia se ha ralentizado”, según un grupo de abogados.
A gavel on a table

Justice Delayed: Courts Overwhelmed by Pandemic Backlog

From child support to insurance fraud, court cases are delayed throughout California. Only half as many civil and criminal cases were resolved last summer compared with pre-pandemic numbers. “Justice has not shut down. Justice has slowed down,” according to an attorneys’ group.
People pull up in their vehicles for Covid-19 vaccines in the parking lot of The Forum in Inglewood, California on January 19, 2021. | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

L.A. County Expands COVID Vaccines to Residents 65 And Older

L.A. County began scheduling COVID-19 vaccination appointments for those aged 65 and older today, but limited supplies and uncertainty about future allocations has left the inoculation effort shrouded in doubt.