After slowing to a trickle during the past five years of punishing drought, hydroelectric power in California is poised to make a major comeback this spring and summer, thanks to the wet winter. Across Northern California, hydroelectricity producers say their reservoirs are brimming at levels not seen in decades.
From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):
The California Department of Water Resources has announced the release of the Draft Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package for the 2014 Water-Energy grant program. Total funding for the program is $19 million. The Water-Energy Program was established on March 1, 2014 when the Governor approved the appropriation of funds from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
“Addressing the Western Governors’ Association today [June 9], Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Bureau of Reclamation will make $17.8 million in water and energy efficiency grants available to 36 projects in the western United States and will provide $1.8 million for three river basin studies—for a total of $19.6 million in Federal funding.”
“The Obama administration’s announcement Monday of sweeping new rules aimed at curbing global warming emissions from power plants could boost profits at Silicon Valley companies that make solar panels, energy efficiency software and other clean technology.”
“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently ruled to protect all existing solar, biogas and wind customers under their current net-energy metering (NEM) contracts for a 20-year grandfathering period.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Catherine Wolfram and David Zetland:
“Our conservation efforts, even the tiniest ones, have a second overlooked benefit: They also save energy. Water is essentially liquid energy. We don’t think about it that way. But every drop must be moved, treated and heated. Each step takes energy.”
“On Thursday, the governing board of Sonoma’s new public power agency plans to set rates for its electricity service, which will begin in May. Most customers will save money, compared to what they currently pay Pacific Gas and Electric Co.”
“The Yuba County Water Agency is filing to renew its operating license with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for the first time since the agency’s creation almost 50 years ago, and it will dictate how the YCWA will run the Yuba River Development Project for the next 50 years.”
“While some groups are excited about the what the Yuba County Water Agency’s FERC relicensing applications contains, other groups are lamenting what is missing — namely, provisions that address removing barriers to native spawning habitat for endangered fish.”
“As a dry December accentuates the stress on California’s limited water supplies, the success of the state’s energy sector in implementing efficiency programs offers valuable lessons to the water sector. A new report from the Pacific Institute examines the rules, regulations, and policies that promote energy efficiency and finds models for water management in drivers like the energy sector’s appliance standards, building codes, pricing policies, and utility-sponsored efficiency programs.
“Whether area electricity customers could face higher rates in 2014 was called into question at Tuesday’s Modesto Irrigation District board meeting, with no clear answer. …
“Also Tuesday, staff presented potential reactions to drought, and the board continued taking steps to correct mistakes in expanding a water treatment plant that will cost taxpayers an extra $24 million.”
“A different legal interpretation could make it easier for the Modesto Irrigation District to raise electricity prices, the utility’s lawyer told leaders Monday in their first gathering since three men were elected to the five-member board. …
“MID leaders last year declined to raise power rates, a departure from sharp increases every year since 2000, noting that prices had stabilized for natural gas used to produce energy.