Top Stories of 2019: The Need for Microgrids

Northern California’s wildfires in 2019 forced the nation’s most populous state to reevaluate the role that electric utilities will play in a future plagued by more wildfires. Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s largest utility, not only declared bankruptcy but was found liable of starting the deadly Camp Fire of 2018. In addition, the City of San Francisco proposed to buy back its power grid from PG&E which ignited a debate about investor-owned utilities and whether microgrids are the solution to deliver reliable power in California.

Experts fear that a dry winter in the West could bring more wildfire danger in 2020, at the same time the deployment of microgrid technology is expected to rapidly accelerate. It will certainly be a technology to watch in the coming year.

Why This Matters: Grappling with the effects of climate change will inevitably be a theme in 2020. We’re truly at a crossroads where we can choose to embrace and fully fund the deployment of carbon-free energy or ignore the solutions that might help us grapple with a warming planet. California is looking to the future (even if out of necessity), hopefully, other states will take note.

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California to Ban Sales of Gas Cars by 2035

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One Great Headline: “Renewables to Quench Pepsi’s Thirst for Power”

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A Methane Pandemic: Millions of Abandoned Wells Are Leaking into the Atmosphere

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As the candidates debate fracking, millions of abandoned natural gas wells are leaking literally tons of methane into the atmosphere, and there’s no fix in sight. There are an estimated 3.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells in the United States, and an estimated 29 million worldwide.

Why This Matters:  Methane leaks are dangerous — they have led to reports of tap water catching fire, toxic groundwater, and fatal explosions, all of which have been motivators for the federal government to track and seal these wells.

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