Green hydrogen pipeline pursued, federal pipeline permit revise, virtual power plants advance

By Published On: February 17, 2022

SoCalGas announces a plan for a major new pipeline to carry renewably-produced hydrogen to Los Angeles to fuel power plants, heavy industry, and trucks. A consumer advocate insists the utility be required to seek cost recovery from ratepayers for its green hydrogen pipeline as part of its general rate case or via another application where there is full transparency before costs are paid.

Federal regulators do as promised and launch an initiative to factor in potential climate, environmental justice, and landowner harm when weighing certifications for natural gas pipeline projects. The partisan plan raises the ire of the Republican minority on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who call the proposal overreaching and damaging to the gas industry.

Feeding aggregated juice from rooftop solar, storage, electric cars, and hot water heaters is the equivalent of a traditional power plant, but with more flexibility. These so-called virtual power plants, which have taken off in other parts of the U.S., are finally starting to make headway in California’s power market.

Pacific Gas & Electric, the owner of California’s last aging nuclear power plant, has been laying the final groundwork for closing it when its federal license expires mid-decade. But calls to keep the 50 year-plus Diablo Canyon plant online continue on claims it will decrease climate pollution and replacement power won’t be online in time.

A fast mega charger for buses and electric vehicle plug standardization are among the projects awarded big grants by the California Energy Commission.

State utility regulators vote to lower the greenhouse gas target by 25%, to reach 32 million metric tons by 2032. To make that happen lots of utility-scale solar and batteries are needed, with several new storage projects in the pipeline.

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