Two decades ago, when California deregulated the delivery of electric power, lawmakers, regulators and even some environmentalists hailed the decision as a way to lower consumers’ bills. The strategy proved disastrous. The plan resulted in an energy crisis that sent power bills soaring, prompted billions in penalties against utilities and banks for manipulating the new electricity market, and led Congress to enact laws to help prevent it all from happening again. Now the state’s leaders have a new proposal for an energy makeover, this time to create a single authority to manage the electric grid for most or all of the West.
Archive for date: July 20th, 2018
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Last night, Orange County Water District voted 6-2 to approve terms for a new, non-binding agreement with privately-owned Poseidon Water for a Huntington Beach desalination project. If the District decides to move ahead with the deal once the plant is fully permitted, the agreement would commit Orange County ratepayers to buying Poseidon’s desalinated water for 30-35 years, while guaranteeing a significant profit for Poseidon’s investors. The billion-dollar desalination proposal has been widely opposed by local activists. Conservation and equity groups are concerned about its impact on water affordability, as well as its anticipated pollution of groundwater and ocean water, harm to sea life, and carbon emissions.
Despite pushback from about 80 environmentalists and other residents, the Orange County Water District board Wednesday approved an updated term sheet for buying water from the proposed Huntington Beach ocean desalination plant. The 6-2 vote established the terms for a contract if plant builder Poseidon Water receives final permits necessary from the Regional Water Quality Control Board this year and the California Coastal Commission next year. It also increased its project study budget from $320,000 to $370,000 to hire consultants to help evaluate different aspects of the proposal. Board members Roger Yoh and Bruce Whitaker dissented, James Vanderbilt abstained and Philip Anthony was absent.
Water experts from across Southern California will convene in Cabazon today to discuss the next steps in resolving issues surrounding the Salton Sea’s receding shoreline, which is causing environmental and public health concerns for both residents and wildlife living in and around the lake. The noontime event at the Morongo Casino Convention Center is one of four major annual events concerning state water issues hosted by the Southern California Water Coalition.
As part of the countywide WaterSmart Landscape Contest, the Otay Water District has selected water conservation class graduate and rebate recipient Rosalba Ponce of Chula Vista as the 2018 winner of its “Best in District” award. Each year, participating water agencies in San Diego County honor residential customers who showcase the best water-efficient features in their yards. This year’s contest committee from Otay determined that Ponce’s landscape best achieved overall attractiveness, a well thought-out design, efficient irrigation methods, and appropriate plant selection and maintenance.
Baja California’s first utility-scale desalination plant has launched operations, supplying 5.7 million gallons a day of converted seawater to municipal water users in the port of Ensenada. The reverse-osmosis facility, which has the capacity to double in size, is seen as a critical piece of infrastructure for Ensenada, whose 390,000 residents have been almost entirely dependent on aquifers for their water supply.
In announcing its new Bay-Delta Water Quality plan, the California State Water Resources Control Board said it wanted to “change the channel” on California’s water debate. We completely agree it’s time to move away from outdated thinking and embrace new, collaborative, science-based solutions and therefore are puzzled that the board is stubbornly clinging to the same failed approach of the past.
A federal watchdog is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to strengthen its oversight of state drinking water systems nationally and respond more quickly to public health emergencies such as the lead-in-the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In a 74-page report released Thursday, the EPA’s inspector general report pointed to “oversight lapses” at the federal, state and local levels in the response to Flint’s contaminated drinking water.
Near-record heat will set the stage for a heightened risk of wildfires in the southwestern United States, including Southern California, next week. While the Southwest is no stranger to intense heat in the summer months, the upcoming pattern is likely to put several decades-old high temperature records to the test. The area of high pressure that has brought record-breaking temperatures to the South Central states will build westward from Sunday into the middle of next week, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark.