Western Energy News

PG&E CEO blames California wildfires on climate change

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CALIFORNIA: PG&E CEO Bill Johnson tells a U.S. Senate committee that California’s wildfires were largely caused by climate change, pushing back against a report this month from state regulators that pointed a finger at poorly maintained transmission equipment. (E&E News, subscription) 

ALSO:
• Johnson also said that he expects the utility’s public safety power shut-offs to continue for five more years. (San Francisco Chronicle)
PG&E is unable to say what steps it took, if any, in response to a 1987 report about the failure risk of C-hooks used on its transmission towers. (KQED)

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UTILITIES:
Arizona utilities are now required to undertake long-term contracts to purchase power from solar and renewable energy generating stations under a new policy set by state regulators. (Arizona Capitol Times, subscription)
California utility regulators decide profit margins will not increase for the state’s major power utilities, pointing out the companies benefit from “investor supportive policies.” (Los Angeles Times)

GRID: A transmission line that carries power from Alaska’s largest hydro plant is back online after being severely damaged by this summer’s Swan Lake fire on the Kenai Peninsula. (Anchorage Daily News)

OIL & GAS:
Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission adopts new oil and gas regulations requiring companies to more frequently inspect equipment for emissions leaks, particularly near homes and schools. (Colorado Independent)
Oil and gas drilling threatens the future of a central Colorado valley that turned to sustainable farming in the wake of coal’s decline. (InsideClimate News)
BP Alaska says 632 of its 1,500 workforce will not be employed by Hilcorp after its sales deal closes next year. (Anchorage Daily News)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: Colorado approves economic development incentives including for a plant that converts tires and trash into energy. (Denver Post)

TECHNOLOGY: PG&E and Southern California Edison are studying a Texas technology that could prevent utility-caused wildfires. (Los Angeles Times)

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COAL: La Plata County, Colorado, commissioners vote to begin negotiations with 17 property owners for private land to improve the main road to a coal mine. (Durango Herald)

COMMENTARY:
A former BP Alaska employee says North Slope oil development has come a long way from early drillers who saw oil but they didn’t think they could economically produce it. (Anchorage Daily News)
An Arizona Solar Energy Industries Association board member explains why a state decision requiring utility companies to set 18-year contracts with renewable energy developers matters to the utilities and to customers. (KJZZ)

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