PG&E’s bankruptcy could slow California’s fight against climate change, says the LA Times

Posted: January 16, 2019 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, Energy
Tags: , ,

California wildfire [image credit: NASA]

Well, they would say that as firm believers in the man-made climate change scare, which they blame for anything bad that’s related to the weather, and talk up the need to ‘fight’ it. But what happens if or when the money dries up?

California is counting on PG&E to keep investing in clean energy to fight climate change, says the LA Times.

But its bankruptcy could imperil solar and wind contracts.

Climate change helped fuel the deadly fires that prompted California’s largest power company to announce Monday that it would file for bankruptcy in the face of $30 billion in potential liabilities.

In a grim twist, the bankruptcy of PG&E Corp. could now slow California’s efforts to fight climate change.

The Golden State has dramatically reduced planet-warming emissions from the electricity sector, largely by requiring utilities to increase their use of solar and wind power and fund energy efficiency upgrades for homes and businesses. Lawmakers recently set a target of 100% climate-friendly electricity by 2045.

But those government mandates have depended on PG&E’s Pacific Gas & Electric unit and other utilities being able to invest tens of billions of dollars in clean energy technologies.

PG&E’s ability to keep making those investments could be in serious jeopardy once it files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, some energy experts say. Even before the company said it would file for bankruptcy, the looming threat of wildfire liabilities had decimated its credit rating, which raises the cost of borrowing capital.

The massive Topaz Solar Farm in California’s San Luis Obispo County, an electricity supplier to PG&E owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy, also saw its credit rating downgraded to junk status last week amid fears the San Francisco-based utility won’t be able to pay its bills in full.

In the short term, PG&E might stop signing renewable energy contracts, although contracting had already slowed in the last few years as customers departed in droves for newly established local energy providers run by city and county governments. In the long term, renewable energy developers and their lenders may hesitate to do business with PG&E — and, potentially, with other California utilities that could also face significant future wildfire costs.

“If we’re having a couple billion dollars a year of fire damage and insurance losses, quite apart from PG&E, this is going to put the entire state of California at risk,” said V. John White, executive director of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, a Sacramento-based trade group.

Continued here.

Comments
  1. ivan says:

    Climate change helped fuel the deadly fires
    Only to the extent that green idiots in their parliament put out legalisation that stopped correct forest maintenance and clean up.

    It is time that the insurance and power companies took the Californian government to court over their ever more stupid climate change antics resulting from junk science.

  2. Gamecock says:

    Had to happen. It is decadence.

    Californians depends on PG&E for their very lives. Yet Sacramento has attacked them relentlessly for years, making all sorts of ridiculous demands.

    I just feel sorry for PG&E’s stock holders.

  3. corev says:

    Socialist California can be happy now that the Govt will be able to take over the DIRECT running of PG&E. Give them another decade and we will see a little Venezuela in the CA power industry. We aren’t that far away from it now. Auto fuel prices are already nearly double that of the rest of the country.

  4. oldbrew says:

    ‘There’s concern in the industry that a Bankruptcy Court judge could order PG&E to reduce its payments to solar and wind project owners to help the company pay off other debts.’

    Oh dear 😂

  5. hunter says:

    Emissions have not dramatically decreased in California.
    Their grid is dangerously antiquated and unstable.
    Big green has forced utilities to stop performing adequate safety maintenance. Big climate has forced the utility to squander huge money on loser energy sources like solar and wind.
    Nuclear power is irrationally dismissed by green and climate extremist interests.
    When the CO2 from imported power is factored into mix, as it should be, the CO2 emissions have changed very little.
    Like Germany, Australia and it her political entities hijacked by climate and green extremists, California is sticking those it is supposed to protect -its citizens- with higher and higher costs and no benefits.

  6. spetzer86 says:

    If you really want to dramatically reduce California’s emissions, just shut down the grid for a few days.

  7. Bitter@twisted says:

    Oh what bad news.
    I had to have a couple of stiff ones to calm my shattered nerves.
    🤪

  8. oldbrew says:

    ‘In the short term, PG&E might stop signing renewable energy contracts’

    Who would want to sign up with a bankrupt outfit anyway?

    ‘investing in clean energy to fight climate change’

    Fighting bankruptcy now comes first.

  9. There should be no Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If a company no longer is liquid they should shut down and go into liquidation bankruptcy. Directors who make made decisions on political grounds should be hauled before a court pay out debt from their own funds and with their own bankruptcy have a criminal records so they can not ever again be a directors or financial advisor. The same needs to apply for government owned and controlled companies. They should not be bailed out by the public purse. Sell off assets or, if no one wants the assets, scrap them.

  10. oldbrew says:

    Is PG&E too big to fail, as the saying goes?

  11. oldmanK says:

    “Is PG&E too big to fail, as the saying goes?” Yes; they say (and its true and verified so) that if you owe the banks ten hundred pounds you are a slave to the bank. But if you owe the bank ten million then the bank is your slave. You are too big to fail. Same way banks have a hold on a country; too big to fail.

    Electricity is important. So it happens that politics make or break a power company.

  12. Gamecock says:

    State takeover of PG&E will speed up the degeneration.

    Businesses make business decisions; governments make political decisions. Governments running businesses make political decisions. Ensuring the death of the businesses.

  13. oldbrew says:

    – – –

    Oh-h-h…the pain…

    Jan. 17, 2019
    LOS ANGELES — Pacific Gas and Electric promises that its customers’ lights will stay on if it follows through on plans to file for bankruptcy this month. But companies that supply the California utility’s electricity may have more to worry about.

    PG&E said Monday that it would use bankruptcy to resolve huge liabilities arising from two years of deadly wildfires. Such a move would allow the company to try to revoke or renegotiate contracts it signed with suppliers when power prices were higher than they are now. That, analysts said, could hurt companies that borrowed based on the higher prices — especially those whose power comes from renewable resources.
    . . .
    Analysts at Credit Suisse estimate that PG&E could save $2.2 billion a year by renegotiating renewable power contracts down to current market prices.
    . . .
    The utility could also anger state lawmakers. California’s government is trying to increase the use of renewable energy. But investors might be scared off if they thought utilities that operate in the state could easily renege on their contracts with suppliers.
    . . .
    Some solar power suppliers said they would seek the state’s help to pressure PG&E to honor its contracts.
    – NYT

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    It takes a special kind of stupid to make a utility go bankrupt when it has a rate tariff of 39 ¢ /k-W-hr. Yes we pay that much.

    BTW I am in active prep to leave the State.

    Per gasoline prices: Just drove to Florida and back. $1.70 in the Texas area, $3.85 to $4+/ gallon in California. If planning a vacation, do Florida to Texas, not California. Photos of prices in this article:

    https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2019/01/15/getting-gas-and-electrons-across-america/

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