Investigation-Infrastructure

Scientist says no reason to shut down San Onofre nuke plant

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

  Can the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, whose decommissioning was announced last June, be salvaged? Cal-Tech trained geochemist and nuclear waste expert James Conca in Forbes.com says it can.  Conca makes a case that Southern California electric ratepayers should not need to pick u...

Bird deaths complicate renewable energy push

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
NaturEner

  On Dec. 19, San Diego Gas and Electric filed suit against NaturEner, which operates wind farms in Montana. The suit alleged NaturEner did not meet its contractual requirements to preserve eagles, raptors, bats and other protected bird species for electricity sent to California. A renewable...

San Francisco botches energy co-op rollout

Monday, December 16th, 2013
CleanPowerSF

  Obamacare isn't the only new government program suffering problems. San Francisco is getting jolted by its new Community Choice Aggregation program, which the U.S. Department of Energy defines in general as, "a state policy that enables local governments to aggregate electricity demand within ...

Solar power no help during CA’s late peak winter hours

Friday, December 13th, 2013
Solar power tower, wikimedia

  Solar power is popular nowadays as a "renewable," non-polluting energy source. It helps California comply with AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which mandates a 25 percent reduction in greenhouse gases in the state by 2020. “Even on short winter days, California is breaking...

CA electric rate reform adjusts rates from 2001 crisis

Monday, December 9th, 2013
PG&E residential rate history 2

Now that the $42 billion in debt from the 2001 Electricity Crisis has been paid off, California is in the process of re-working electric power rates. It has mostly been high-volume electricity users who have been paying down that debt through higher power rates. California's "tiered" electric...

California’s disappearing farmland

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Central valley map, wikimedia

  More than 370,000 acres of California's irrigated farmland disappeared from 2006-10. Officials are concerned that hundreds of thousands of additional acres could be lost in the coming years, threatening California's leading role in feeding the nation and indeed much of the world. About ...

Will Gov. Brown’s ‘small is beautiful’ sink water plan?

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013
Small is beautiful book cover

  During California Gov. Jerry Brown’s first term in office, 1975 to 1983, one of the central planks of his political platform was “small is beautiful.” Brown borrowed his platform from economist E.F. Schumacher’s 1973 book, “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered.” ...

Will Warren Buffett’s hydro prevent CA electricity crisis? — Part 2

Monday, November 11th, 2013

This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Part 1 is here. In Part 1 of this series, I reported on how California is launching a regional "energy imbalancing market" to reduce the spike in the price of electricity each day during sunset hours under the state's new green-energy power grid. This is calle...

Will Warren Buffett’s hydro prevent CA electricity crisis? — Part 1

Friday, November 8th, 2013
Western electricity balancing

This is the first of two articles. Part 2 is here. California is trying to create what officially is called an "energy imbalance market" to cut off an emerging daily two-hour energy-pricing crisis. The crisis isn't so much a technical problem of how to ramp up the grid fast enough, as how to cut do...

Delta’s ‘Cadillac Desert’ image blown out of the water

Monday, October 28th, 2013
Cadillac desert book cover

  Probably the most mentally riveting figure of speech in the history of California nature writing has been the book, “Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water,” by the late Marc Reisner.  Part of the book was about how California rice farmers supposedly used the larges...

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