Tag Archives: Governor Jerry Brown

Nine States Report Record Low Snowpacks

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Nine states report record low snowpacks. A report from the US Department of Agriculture states, “the largest snowpack deficits are in record territory for many basins,especially in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada where single – digit percent of normal conditions prevail. Very low snowpacks are reported in most of Washington, all of Oregon, Nevada, California, parts of Arizona, much of Idaho, parts of New Mexico, three basins in Wyoming, one basin in Montana, and most of Utah.” This region is undergoing the warmest winter temperatures since record keeping began in 1895.

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A Partial Solution To California’s Water Problems

A new report offers some solutions to the severe drought in California, however, the problem will require much bigger thinking.

Originally Published on Renewable Energy World

By Roy L Hales

A new report, Clean Energy Opportunities in California’s Water Sector, offers what could be a partial solution to California’s water problems. The authors, Juliet Christian-Smith and Laura Wisland from the Union of Concerned scientists, primarily focus on the 20 percent of California’s electricity that is consumed by the water sector. They point out that most water and wastewater utilities own assets (land, reservoirs, ponds etc) that could be used to produce renewable energy.

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California’s Water Situation is Beyond An Emergency

By Roy L Hales, with Robert Lundahl

California’s water situation is beyond an emergency, according to Healdsburg resident Dave Howard. He and his sons returned from a “ski trip” in Northern California.

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California First Helped Bring PACE Home

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1It has been seven years since Cisco DeVries came up with what Scientific American would later call one of the top 20 “world-changing” ideas of the year. He was the Mayor of Berkeley’s Chief of staff. They were thinking about ways to hasten the adoption of solar technology. DeVries realized the breakthrough they needed was financial rather than technological. The $20,000 or $30,000 people needed to install a solar system was a hefty bill. He was looking for a way the city could help when a northern Berkeley neighbourhood asked to have their utility lines put underground. This improvement was to be financed through their property taxes. DeVries realized this was the vehicle that could finance the adoption of solar and other energy improvements. The Property Assessed Clean Energy (P.A.C.E.) program was born. There are many questions remaining about the events ahead. One of them is how did California First help bring PACE home?

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How AB 2188 came into Being

The ECOreport looks at how California is streamlining the permitting process, How AB 2188 came into Being

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMGovernor Jerry Brown did not realize how backwards California’s solar regulations were until he visited Germany in the summer of 2013. There were 500 jurisdictions back home, each with its own requirements and charges. Some are models of efficiency. Los Angeles’ web based system can spit out an approval immediately and it only takes a day in San Diego, but there are also jurisdictions where the process drags out over the course of many weeks. As a result, the soft costs of getting a solar system in California can be eight times as they are in Germany. The Germans have a single system for the entire country. Governor Brown was impressed. So impressed that he started making inquiries about how to streamline California’s permitting process. That was how AB 2188 came into being.

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EPA released proposed guidelines for power plant emissions

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Though there are limits to for the amounts of some chemicals that power plants can emit, the US currently has no national limits as to the amount of carbon. President Obama’s administration intends to change that. Today EPA  released proposed guidelines to cut carbon from existing power plants.
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Is California’s Monopoly Protection Act a resurrection of Prop 16?

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1A member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245, Hunter Stern, recently sent Marin County residents an email supporting state Assembly Bill 2145, popularly called the “Monopoly Protection Act.” According to the PACIFIC SUN, it is filled with “filled with misinformation” – but the real problem is that it may evade a California law meant to create transparency in the market place. After PG&E spent $46 million trying to introduce legislation that might have stopped Marin Clean Power from launching, in 2010, a law was passed against the state’s utilities from using ratepayer funds to pay for marketing campaigns against communities that attempt to set up their own utilities (community choice aggregates, or CCA). Utilities have to file a plan with the California Public Utilities Commission, before launching anti-community choice advertising. Unfortunately, this legislation does not extend to the use of use third-party intermediaries. Mr Stern’s email carried a link to an organization called the Marin County Common Sense Coalition, an organization with known ties to PG&E. This is starting to sound like a rerun. Is California’s Monopoly Protection Act a resurrection of Prop. 16?
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Residential PACE comes to Unincorporated San Diego

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PMAs a result of recent Californian legislation, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has approved the residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program. Though commercial PACE is available throughout San Diego, up until now only cities that opted to go on their own have offered residential programs. Now Home Energy Renovation Opportunity Program (HERO), California First and Figtree PACE programs have all been approved for homeowners.
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California: CPUC Rules that Existing Solar Arrays are Grandfathered in

By Roy L Hales

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has ruled that existing rooftop solar arrays can keep selling electricity to the grid at current rates for 20 years.
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Governor Brown Signs AB 327

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Governor Brown has signed AB 327. Despite the initial solar vs utilities flare-up, the final version of AB 327 was something that most parties on both sides could agree on. One of the passages that many found offensive – authorization for the CPUC to approve a flat rate of up to $10 on all residential customers of California’s biggest utilities, regardless of whether they draw that much power from the grid – remains. The CPUC now has to determine a compensation structure for people whose solar feeds the grid and there are many who argue that the terms of their investments should not be changed mid-stream. Continue reading Governor Brown Signs AB 327