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Infrastructure and energy costs permeate energy conference

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on Aug. 4, 2008

CMTA’s annual energy gig concluded its panels, speeches and forums on Friday up in South Lake Tahoe.  Here’s a few paraphrased highlights that should be recorded and well known as consumers, employers, legislators, regulators and media navigate the trepid waters of a California-only global warming mandate.  


Jeff  Byron - California Energy Commissioner

1. Needed - Transmission, transmission, transmission
2. Electricity costs will likely rise for consumers because of increased system "peakiness", tight natural gas market, aging transmission and distribution infrastructure.   Transmission is the hardest thing to site in California, apart form nuclear facilities. 

View Byron’s video

Download Byron's Powerpoint




Severin Borenstein – UC Energy Institute

1. Meeting California's aggressive greenhouse gas reduction goals will not be costless.
2. Minimizing those costs requires realistic policy analysis.
3. Markets are not sending signals on true environmental costs.
4. The public isn't ready to pay the true costs of AB 32 because they don't know the costs.

View Borenstein’s Video

Download Borenstein's Powerpoint




Karen Douglas -
California Energy Commissioner

1. Increasing demand requires aggressive work and innovation to keep up performance on energy efficiency.
2. Can we use energy efficiencey to reduce per capita energy use?
3. Increasing peak demand presents a significant problem, and we also have to plan for the prospect of growing electricity usage by transportation sector.
4. At the Energy Commission, we approve a lot of projects that never get built, which is a source of frustration. 
5. Up front costs are high for renewables but fuel source is then free.  We must focus and shift from coal and natural gas to renewable power.  Business as usual will not work.

Douglas’ Video:




Yakout Mansour - President and CEO, CA Independent System Operator

1. Net new generation since 2001 outpaced demand growth by 5,000 MW
2. Transmission vs. generation tough challenging question.  Unless streamlined process, transmission will be the major challenge over coming yeas
3. 55,000 MW total generation capacity in state. 14,000 MW needed and 6 new major 500 KV transmission projects needed to deliver renewables to meet 33 percent Renewable Portfolio Standard.
4. Demand response must be broader,more inclusive.  Demand should shape itself every day.  Price transparency must drive demand and competition.
5. ISO meeting goals but goalposts keep moving.

View Mansour’s Video




V John White - Renewable energy advocate

1. We’ve made a lot of "holes in the wall".  The problem is our failure to execute and it’s haunting us on the renewable front.   We bet on low fossil fuel prices and we got hammered.
2. Ab1X created fundamental distortion in the market.  450 mw online since renewable portfolio standard passed. 
We’ve worried about paying too much for renewables but we bet wrong, given current gas prices.  (ex. Sweden now has 1 of every 3 wind turbines in the world) 

View White's video




Kip Lipper - Office of Sen. Don Perata

1. 200 bills that use the words "global warming" or "climate change"
2. State must practice what it preaches
    examples
  • CA Dept of General Services has 34,000 light duty cars -- most are not clean.
  • Dept. of transportation needs to focus on cleaner land use and trans planning
3. Four most important climate change/energy bills
  • SB 375  – links transportation and land use to climate targets
  • SB 411 – 33% RPS
  • SB 1240 – establishes in statute the low carbon fuel standard and parameters in which is should operate
  • SB 1760 – strategic and governance structure on deploying climate change research policies  ($500 million a year on climate issues )
View Lipper’s video




Darren Bouton - Deputy Cabinet Secretary, Gov. Schwarzenegger

1. Governor is a "focused environmentalist".
2. The state's focus on green tech yields economic opportunity.
3. $3 billion in venture capital invested in clean tech in 2007.  83 percent of those companies in United States.  For every $100 million in clean tech,  2700 jobs created.
4. We need to ensure that California capitalizes on this opportunity, especially with the 33% RPS.  Focus on opportunity, not the rates.

View Bouton’s video




John Fielder - President, Southern California Edison


1. Overall electricity rate levels driven by the price of natural gas. 
2. AB1x's inequitable rate design (frozen rates for 70 percent of residential users) "is a time bomb ready to go off".  All the natural gas volatility, AB 32 costs, etc. are distributed only to large users.  We are working to get this changed.
3. Problems with the 33 percent RPS bill.
  • Does not apply equally to all load providing entities.  Right now it only applies to investor owned utilities.
  • Alternative compliance mechanism needed for entities that can't make the RPS requirement.  This money could help create a fund for new renewables, research, market stimulation, etc.
  • Any new RPS statue must address reliability.
View Fielder’s video








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