Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is This A Bright Idea?

Given the bill's actual title, new legislation proposed by Lloyd Levine to ban incandescent light bulbs in California certainly sounds like a joke, but it actually might not be as goofy as some of the other ideas Levine has come up with.

The "How Many Assemblymen Does It Take To Change A Lightbulb?" act-- really, that's what it's called-- would mandate that all incandescent light bulbs in California be replaced with more energy-efficient, longer lasting fluorescent bulbs by 2012.

Apparently, Compact Fluorescent Lights ("CFL's) use 25% less energy and last 13x longer than traditional light bulbs.

I confess to knowing nothing about light bulbs, but there has to be a downside to this. Can CFL's fit in regular light sockets or would costly upgrades be required? Do CFL's throw off that horrible ghastly light that makes you look 20 years older when you look in the mirror?

The idea behind this legislation is solid: cut our energy consumption. We spend a lot of time on this site bickering about the need to generate new energy sources to meet California's consumption needs, but addressing demand as well as supply is just as relevant and important.

However, given that this is coming from Lloyd Levine, and given that nobody else has proposed this before, there's probably a catch. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more on this...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More Fodder for the LNG Debate.

Ventura County Chamber of Commerce boss Zoe Taylor writing in todays Ventura County Star argues that California's regulatory review process is the most stringent in the world and that any offshore oil and gas project that passes muster with regulators should be allowed to proceed:

"Protecting natural resources is not only the right thing to do, it's the law. Offshore oil and natural gas projects must undergo stringent regulatory and environmental review. Local, state and federal environmental agencies are responsible for reviewing and approving these projects. The companies that operate them are required to comply with the toughest environmental regulations in the world."
Taylor takes a few liberties in making her argument (e.g., claiming that the review process for certain projects (rhymes with "LNG") is somehow "arbitrary"), but fundamentally, Taylor's point makes sense: California boasts the toughest environmental standards on the planet, let the regulators do their jobs.
The environmental reviews and the science are what they are, let the pros analyze and decide.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Be Careful What You Wish For...

As California rushes like a bull in a china shop headong into its renewable energy mandate, the unintended consequences are starting to pop up all over the place.

Two items jumped out of the news this morning:

SMUD's uses of hydroelectric power is up to 17% of its total generation, and when it comes to renewable energy in California, more is better, right? Wrong! The Department of Fish and Game has filed a complaint with the California Water Resources Control Board, claiming that SMUD has been diverting more water from the river than permitted during the past four decades - accumulating 738 days of violations.

Also, CAL-ISO is now asking FERC to approve a new plan for financing gen-ties. It seems that solar, geothermal and wind energy all kind of lend themselves to energy generation in really remote places and that requires expensive new long-distance, high-capacity, high-voltage lines. But how to pay for them?

Currently, project developers have to start paying for gen-ties up front. Renewable Energy Access describes the new CAL-ISO proposal:

"The California ISO proposal calls for the initial costs of multi-user resource trunkline transmission projects to be paid by the transmission owners and recouped through the [Transmission Access Charges (TAC's)]. As generators connect to the new trunkline they will pay a pro-rated share of the costs based
on their generating capacity. The generator payments will reduce the cost recovered through the TAC."
Now, maybe there is a compromise that can be reached in the SMUD situation and perhaps there is a legislative fix for financing gen-ties, but all of this just further underscores how California's overly ambitious rollout of the RPS needs some serious tinkering...

Friday, January 26, 2007

NO COAL: PUC Makes it official.

The PUC voted unanimously yesterday to prohibit investor-owned utilities from entering into contracts for coal-generated power. The move is designed to encourage investment in alternative energy technologies and to reduce CO2 emissions.

Predictably, the decision was met without much fuss as it was a long time coming. (Earlier we batted around the "coal dilemmas" in Pasadena and Truckee on this site.)

The half-hearted response from the coal industry lobby was kind of comical: A spokesman trotted out the same old line about inflationary energy costs, but then argued that, because India and China use so much coal, we should too because the global environment is screwed anyway! (That's a winner sound bite!)

California power companies barred from buying dirty power [San Diego Union Tribune]

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Read It and Weep.

With all of the LNG goings on this week, the "progress" report on the RPS issued by the PUC this week almost escaped notice. You can read it for yourself, but I can summarize if for you in three words: IT AINT PRETTY.

As San Francisco Chronicle blogger Mark Martin noted in a post earlier this week:

The one chart in the report projecting future renewable power use shows the state falling a few thousand megawatts short of the 2010, and the chart is probably over-optimistic because it assumes every contract utilities have signed for power so far will happen. Some will likely fall through.

The chart is barely referenced anywhere in the text of the rosy PUC report, which doesn't provide any writing on whether the 20 percent mandate will be met.

Martin also notes that another report, this one by the CEC, takes a more sober (realistic?) view of the situation. That report states:

"California has achieved only minimal increases in renewable generation,'' the energy commission writes before outlining five major problems that have led to slow progress.

Renewable energy progress short of goal, despite PUC spin [SFgate Politics Blog]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Gas Pains.

Southern California smog regulators filed suit Tuesday against the state of California to block the importation of a type of liquefied natural gas known as "hot gas" because it burns at a higher temperature and creates more smog-forming emissions than the domestic version.

While all of the LNG projects under consideration-- with the exception of the Baja, Mexico project (which happens to be the farthest along)-- have agreed not to import hot gas, the AQMD wants in codified into law.

More as it comes...

Regulators sue state over 'hot gas'[Los Angeles Times]

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Long Beach LNG Project, RIP.

So much for LNG in Long Beach. It's dead. The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners voted unanimously to halt the environmental review of the project yesterday, effectively killing it.

The writing has been on the wall for this project for some time so this isn't surprising. It simply made no sense to put an LNG terminal smack dab in the middle of a densley populated urban area that also just happens to be the biggest port in the U.S. (making it one of the most economically sensitive locations in the country). God forbid a terrorist attack or an earthquake were to strike. Countless casualties and economic chaos would ensue. It was a bad idea.

LNG, however, remains a good idea as long as it doesn't threaten lives or commerce.

Sempra is well underway with construction of its LNG terminal in Baja, Mexico; you know all about BHP Billiton's Carbrillo Port because we've discussed it ad nauseum; there is the Clearwater Port project also off the coast of Oxnard, and Woodside has its project also near Malibu.

The net-net of all this then, is that there is still a good chance California will get access to much-needed LNG.

In its write-up of the Long Beach decision, the LA Times quoted PUC attorney Harvey Morris who pretty much summed up the case against the Sound Energy Solutions project:

"This project would have put over 140,000 people who live and work within 3 miles of that LNG terminal at risk," said Harvey Morris, an attorney for the Public Utilities Commission. "The evidence was overwhelming there's all kinds of things that could go wrong if there was a terror attack or earthquake. There's a need for LNG, but there are much safer alternatives."

Even though the project is dead, the saga will surely continue. I'm sure Sound Energy Solutions will sue Long Beach and waste a lot of time and taxpayer money, so don't expect this to go away soon, but if you live in Long Beach, you at least you can cross this project off your list of things to worry about.

LNG project killed [Long Beach Press Telegram]

Monday, January 22, 2007

World's Largest Solar Roof To Be Built in Riverside.

UK retailer TESCO has announced that, not only is it entering the US market in a big way, it's going to do so with a commitment to renewable energy that is significant even by the lofty standards set by Sacramento recently.

TESCO is planning a $13 million solar installation on its five-building, 820,400-square-foot distribution center in Riverside, CA.

According to

The solar roof is estimated to have a peak power output of 2 megawatts and will provide nearly a fifth of the depot's power supply. Mason estimated the installation will save about 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

The energy-saving device was developed by Solar Integrated Technologies, Inc., of Los Angeles, a designer, manufacturer and installer of power-generating, building-integrated roofing systems for commercial buildings.

World's Largest Solar-Powered Roof to Be Built in California [Green Biz]

Friday, January 19, 2007

This Is Getting Tedious.

About a month ago, consumer activist Tom Elias wrote a column about the Malibu LNG fiasco in which he expressed his hope that a group of current and former Hollywood stars would be able to thwart plans for Carbrillo Port. Elias hypothesized that these movie stars could have great influence over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, himself a former box office giant.

Elias described the movie stars thusly:

"But now arises the new 'tribe,' all Malibu residents and property owners. Members include the likes of Barbra Streisand, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson, Olivia Newton John, Jane Seymour, Craig T. Nelson, Charlize Theron and Dick Van Dyke, to name only a few.

Malibu may be as sacred to them as Point Conception is to the Chumash, and Billiton's plant might mar the views they've paid millions of dollars to enjoy. So they've signed letters of protest, and even turned out for anti-LNG rallies."

And he noted:

"If consumers are lucky, this gaggle of Hollywood celebrities will have even more juice with current Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, their old acting buddy, than the big companies seeking to bring in LNG."

Fast forward to today's Ventura County Star where yet another Elias column graces the oped page.

This column trys to make an issue out of the fact that BHP Billiton hired Sacramento power broker George Kieffer and his law firm to represent its interests in California and-- gasp-- this was the same firm that worked on an unsuccessful LNG project 20-some years ago.

A-ha! Gotcha!

Me? I don't get it. A month ago, Elias was all for a group of mega-wealthy movie stars using their personal influence over their former colleague (Gov. Schwarzenegger), and now, because Billiton has hired a law firm to perform the same function, it's something nefarious?

If I ran a foreign company and had an $800 million project on the table in California you bet I'd hire a law firm to represent me. And, if there was a law firm with experience on this exact, same issue? I'd hire that firm.

So, by Elias's reasoning, it's ok for the movie stars (who, by Elias's own admission are simply NIMBY homeowners acting in their own self interest-- remember, Elias wrote: "Billiton's plant might mar the views they've paid millions of dollars to enjoy. So they've signed letters of protest, and even turned out for anti-LNG rallies.")to lobby and exert influence, but the other side cannot?

This is a battle that has been and will continue to be fiercely fought by two heavyweights. Which is the good guy and which is the bad guy depends entirely on your point of view (or simply your "view," as the case may be), but rest assured, both sides have interests to protect and both sides have lots of money and lots of connections. So let's drop the manufactured sense of outrage and argue this thing on its mertis-- and its liabilities-- and may the best person win.

Links to LNG proposal of 27 years ago surface [Ventura County Star]

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Malibu Congressman Questions EPA on LNG.

The Malibu Surfside News is reporting that Malibu Congressman Henry Waxman has sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting details on EPA's decision reverse its stance on air quality compliance requirements for Cabrillo Port, a ruling that was ultimately overturned by the Ventura smog board.

Waxman, who represents Malibu, became Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform when the new Democratic majority took control of Congress earlier this month.

Waxman is no dummy-- he's been around Washington a long time. Politically speaking, this was a no-brainer: send a letter to the EPA and score big points with many of your constituents AND toe the Democratic Party line in its commitment to using newfound oversight authority to bludgeon the Bush Adminstration and Republicans in the leadup to 2008.

It's not clear what impact this move will have on the future of LNG. Practically speaking, the EPA decision in question was reversed months ago and any LNG terminal still has to be approved by state regulatory bodies, but politically speaking, it's another twist in the three ring circus that LNG in California has become.

Stay tuned... I'm sure there's plenty more to come!

Congressional Probe into EPA Flip-Flop on CP [Malibu Surfside News]

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

California Crude Stocks Lowest In Years.

According to a published Dow Jones report yesterday, California crude oil stocks are the lowest they've been since before 2000:

Latest data show California crude stocks stood at 11.64 million barrels, up fractionally from the Dec. 29 level, which was the lowest since Oct 8, 2004. But because crude oil input to refineries is high, the relative level of stocks is lower.

California refineries processed an average of 1.88 million barrels a day of crude in the week ended Jan. 5, up 58,000 barrels a day from a week earlier and 99,000 barrels a day more than a year ago, when crude stocks were 2.7 million barrels higher.

CEC's Rob Schlicting shrugged off the news, noting that refinery consumption of crude has been increased of late to meet demand for more of California's unique gasoline blend. Schlicting also cited a healthy dose of market hedging-- crude prices have been lower (relatively speaking) lately, and companies have more than likely been waiting for them to stabilize before stocking up supplies.

To put current inventory in perspective:

Stocks levels are even lower than they were after a corrosion problem at a pipeline from BP’s Prudhoe Bay oil field cut Alaska North Slope output by as much 400,000 barrels a day in August 2006, and California refiners scrambled to line up alternative supplies. Crude stocks then remained above 14 million barrels and were sufficient to cover at least eight days of demand.

Relatively Low California Crude Stocks Bear Watching [Dow Jones]

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Politics and Violence" Driving Natural Gas Prices Higher.

Bloomberg today reports that, worldwide, energy companies are shelving new natural gas projects in response to political squabbles and, in some cases, violence. The result, Bloomberg predicts, will be rising natural gas prices borne by the consumer:

Natural gas prices are three times higher than during the 1990s and consumption of the fuel will outpace the 1.6 percent annual gain in energy demand for the next 25 years, according to the International Energy Agency. Gas is also becoming more popular because it emits 29 percent less carbon dioxide than oil and 45 percent less than coal burned in power stations.

``Costs are going up and they're going up far faster than anybody expected,'' said Andy Flower, a U.K.-based consultant to the LNG industry and a former BP Plc executive. He forecasts that the world LNG shortage will last until at least 2011.

Bloomberg notes that this trend is especially evident with LNG:

None of the world's biggest energy companies approved developments last year to increase production of liquefied natural gas, which helps heat homes and run power plants from Tokyo to Boston. The main reason is the cost to build LNG plants has tripled in six years, according to Bechtel Group Inc., the biggest U.S. contractor.

Violence in East Timor, Nigeria, and Iran has held up LNG projects, as has political pressure like the ongoing saga in Malibu.

Chevron, Shell Delay LNG Projects, Sending Gas Higher [Bloomberg]

Monday, January 15, 2007

Chevron Downplaying Refinery Fire.

Chevron is saying that today' refinery fire in Richmond is contained, burning itself out, and not likely to affect production. Here's the update:

Fire at Calif. Chevron refinery limited: official [Reuters]

What's The Right Answer?

It's not often that you can hang the "bellwether" tag on Victorville, CA, but there's a fight underway in the high desert between environmentalists and energy companies that raises some questions that need to be answered throughout California.

An article in Sunday's Victorville Daily Press reports on a lawsuit brought by NRDC and others to scuttle plans for two gas-fired power plants proposed for the area. The lawsuit asks the not-unreasonable question: "Why are we building fossil fuel power plants in the face of a mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?" (I say "not-unreasonable" because it is a legitimate question that speaks more to the regs and mandates flying out of the capitol building in Sacramento than it does to any environmental or business agenda.)

The article then makes the one point nobody seems willing or able to address: "The dispute underscores a basic disagreement over whether green energy is ready for mass production and whether the cost pencils out."

The write-up also notes the following-- which should be good fodder for discussion:

Analysts have acknowledged that the supply of natural gas has peaked in the United States and supplies from Canada are expected to be shrinking in the coming year. With the bulk of natural gas reserves in Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two High Desert power plants would become increasingly dependent on foreign sources of the volatile substance, which is expensive and delicate to ship. LNG terminals to receive such shipments have not yet been built or even sited, promising to delay any relief from the crunch for a decade or more.

Meanwhile, demand for energy will continue to grow. According to the California Independent Service Operator, which monitors the state power grid, demand could outstrip supply within the next two years, possibly leading to a repeat of the rolling blackouts which troubled the state in 2001.

Rolling back progress? [Victorville Daily Press]

Friday, January 12, 2007

I Looooove Sempra.

In the new issue of Business Week, stock market guru Gene Marcial fawns over Sempra, noting that it's up 10 points since June to $55/share, with a price target of $60!

Why is The Street so in love with Sempra? Marcial states, "Sempra is a utility in motion: It's partly switching from a utility into an acquirer and developer of energy assets."

The write-up also cites other factors that bode well for Sempra:

"Its other operations are unregulated, including energy trading, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in North America, and gas pipelines and storage facilities in the U.S. and Mexico. Sempra may form a master limited partnership for these, he says. Paul Justice of Morningstar (MORN ) says: "We're particularly excited" by its entry into LNG and partnership with Kinder Morgan (KMI ) to build a pipeline from the Rockies to the Midwest. Both ventures should provide stable cash flow for years, he says."

And that's really what running an energy company is all about, right? Stable cash flow. Discuss.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

PG&E Brings More Wind Power On Line.

Utilities Online reports that PG&E just keeps getting greener:

PG&E began receiving renewable power from the Buena Vista Energy LLC Wind Project located in the Altamont pass area of Contra Costa County. PG&E's second newly constructed renewable project to come on line under California's Renewable RPS Program, Buena Vista will provide over 38 MW of wind power to California's electricity customers.

The utility currently supplies more than 13% of its energy from renewable resources that qualify under California's RPS Program. In addition, more than 50% of the electricity that PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating resources that emit no carbon dioxide. Since starting its RPS Program, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 1,100 MW of renewable energy consisting of wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro resources.

PG&E delivers wind power to customers [Utilities Online]

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fueling Controversy.

The LA Times smells a rat in Arnold's new low-carbon fuel initiative. In an article by Janet Wilson and Elizabeth Douglass, it ponders whether this is nothing more than a give-away to the ethanol industry?

For years federal subsidies have been lavished on ethanol despite real questions about its effectiveness and supply. A few years ago, when a rival gasoline additive was banned in California, the gold rush was on as Californians raced to get in the ethanol game(the Times notes that former GOP Sec-State Bill Jones runs his own ethhanol company now-- and is something of a prolific political donor.)

Sweetheart deals aside, there is the very real possibility that ethanol won't help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Times:

A number of studies, including one just completed at UC Berkeley, raise questions about whether corn-based ethanol, the form now most widely used in the United States, actually reduces carbon, the largest greenhouse gas contributor believed to be causing global warming.

"I don't think much of ethanol for energy or anything else," said Tad W. Patzek, professor of geoengineering at UC Berkeley, who said that several studies that he has co-written, including one in the peer-reviewed Natural Resources Research Journal next month, found that the coal, petroleum and other fossil fuels used by tractors to grow corn, and the heating equipment used to distill it into fuel, zeroed out any benefits from burning ethanol rather than petroleum.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of this...

Is ethanol the heart of gov.'s idea? [Los Angeles Times]

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

New 600-MW Calpine Plant Is A Go.

Calpine announced Friday that it has executed a ten-year tolling agreement with PG&E for the Russell City Energy Center, a proposed 600-MW, electric generating station to be built near Hayward, California.

The plant is a joint venture with GE, with Calpine owning 65% and GE 35%. Calpine plans to commence construction of the gas-fired facility by spring 2008, with commercial operations to start by June 2010.

Calpine Builds Momentum for Bay Area Power Plant [Energy Online]

Monday, January 08, 2007

Upping the Ante on Renewables.

California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine thinks California's renewable energy mandate doesn't go far enough. Despite the fact that is has been well documented that utilities are not in a position to meet the current mandate of 20% renewables by 2010, Levine wants to see 33% by 2020!

AB 94 would apply to power supplies for PG&E ,Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric.

According to Levine, who chairs the Assembly's Utilities and Commerce Commission:

"In a year when health care promises to be a central issue for the legislature and the governor, the delivery of electricity generated by renewable resources will reduce pollution throughout the state because of the decreased need to burn fossil fuels..."

Well-intentioned legislation, political grandsstanding, or pure fantasy? You be the judge...

California bill would raise renewable energy goal [Reuters]

Friday, January 05, 2007

Upgrading Our Refineries.

If you rely on the watered-down, pre-packaged-for-mass-consumption mainstream media for your news, you'd be led to believe that high gas prices in California are the result of the prevailing supply (and price) of oil. Actually, California's unique gasoline formulations and its woefully inadequate refining capacity head the list of reasons why gas is so expensive.

Practically speaking, we can't do anything about the special blends Califoria uses in its gasoline, and we certainly can't site and build new oil refineries (take the opposition to an offshore LNG facility in Malibu and multiply by a thousand if you try and build a new oil refinery), but we can improve the aging refinery infrastructure we've got.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, some companies are doing just that. Among the list of refinery upgrades:

Chevron Corp. is planning improvements to its Richmond facility that could expand the plant's gasoline production by about 7 percent, Chief Executive Officer David O'Reilly said in testimony before Congress. The company is still seeking government permits for the work and hasn't disclosed the price tag.

San Ramon's Chevron is also upgrading its refinery in El Segundo, in Los Angeles County. That project and the planned improvements in Richmond will increase the company's gasoline production in California by 840,000 gallons per day, a spokeswoman said.

ConocoPhillips' Rodeo refinery wants to expand production of gasoline by 791,000 gallons per day, a 35 percent increase, and its production of diesel by 290,000 gallons per day, up 21.5 percent. The company, which like Chevron isn't revealing the project's price, has applied for permits and hopes to have them by March.

Tesoro Corp.'s Golden Eagle refinery, near Martinez, will spend an estimated $475 million to $525 million installing equipment that will reduce air pollution and improve the plant's ability to process relatively cheap, heavy grades of crude oil. This project, which has just started construction, won't increase the amount of gasoline produced.

Valero Energy Corp.'s Benicia refinery also is upgrading equipment to handle heavier forms of crude. The project, under way since 2004, will cost an estimated $200 million to $400 million.

According to the Chronicle: "Viewed together, the Bay Area refinery projects could produce an extra 1.1 million gallons of gas per day, or about 2.5 percent of the 43.5 million gallons Californians burn every day."

Baby steps, to be sure, but every little bit helps.

Oil facilities are getting refined ConocoPhillips, Chevron hoping to boost production [San Francisco Chronicle]

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Holidays are officially over...

Now that all the holiday decorations have been put away and the the cobwebs have cleared from New Year's celebrations, folks are getting back in the swing of things and that can only mean one thing: LNG in Malibu is back on the radar screen!

The Malibu Surfide News today reports that a direct mail piece from Gov. Schwarzenegger's office sent over the holidays is causing some concern among anti-LNG advocates.

In the letter, the Governor appears to retreat from the earlier statement that he had not "made up his mind" about whether to support Cabrillo Port. Now, he pledges to hold the project to the letter of California's strict environmental requirements, but any mention of being undecided is conspicuously absent.

The Governor's office says his position is unchanged but Malibu is gearing for a fight. Accordnig to the Surfside News, private citizens and the City of Malibu are in the process of raising half a million dollars for an aggressive, expensive court challenge.

Governor’s LNG ‘Message’ Has Coastal Residents Concerned [Malibu Surfside News]

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A Scatological Solution?

I guess if the CEC takes this seriously enough to issue a report, we can talk about it, too! Blogger Green Wombat has an item today about the economics of turning cow manure into electricity by extracting methane gas to power generating turbines.

According to our friend Green Wombat:

"...[T]he 9,900-cow Hilarides Dairy outside Tulare in Southern California has installed a state-subsidized methane digester system that could provide all its electricity from cow manure. In November, the dairy saved $15,547 in electricity costs. But as was the case with other dairies reviewed by the report, the Tulare farm has been reluctant to fully ramp up cower power. Why? For one thing, there's no system in place that lets dairies sell excess power they generate to Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG), Southern California Edison (EIX) and other California utilities. That discourages dairy owners from spending the money to operate methane digesters. Second, the state's "net metering" law - which credits dairies for excess electricity they generate - is so convoluted and stacked in the utilities favor as to make investments in cow power a risky bet."

I guess if we're going to produce 20% of our energy from renewables by 2010, we have to look at every option.


California Cow Power: Poop Pays [Green Wombat]

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Power Collective in Central Valley.

Residents of the San Joaquin Valley are set to get a break on their energy bills in 2007 now that the new San Joaquin Valley Power Authority is up and running. the SJVPA, a new collective of local communities organized under the Community Choice program, will buy power at a discount and pass the savings along to ratepayers.

According to the Fresno Bee:

The authority will cover 307,000 home and business customers. The Valley group consists of the city of Fresno, Kings County, Clovis, Hanford, Lemoore, Corcoran, Dinuba, Reedley, Sanger, Selma, Kerman, Parlier and Kingsburg. Tulare County supervisors also recently approved joining and may be the authority's 14th member. Tulare County could add more than 40,000 customers.

In addition to buying power, the group plans to build a 500 megawatt, gas-fired co-gen plant within three years. Transmission and distribution will continue to be through PG&E.

New power authority set to buy electricity for Valley [Fresno Bee]