Renewable portfolio legislation to be heard April 9th

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, March 30, 2007

Legislation increasing the utility renewable electricity portfolio requirement from 20 percent to one-third will be considered by the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee on April 9th.

Pursuant to law and the state "Energy Action Plan", the California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires utilities and other retail sellers to increase their level of renewable resources by one percent a year until a 20 percent renewable portfolio is achieved in 2010.  AB 94 (Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys) requires utilities to achieve a 33 percent renewable electricity portfolio by 2010.

The current estimated deliveries of renewable power for the three large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are as follows:

    Pacific Gas and & Electric 12.4% (9,251 gigiwatt hours)
    Southern California Edison 16.7% (12,702 gigiwatt hours)
    San Diego Gas & Electric (6.3% (1,047 gigiwatt hours)

The present uncertainty about the ability of IOUs to meet the RPS requirement underscores the downside of locking in statute energy policies that may prove infeasible or imprudent or both.  For these reasons, CMTA opposes AB 94. 

CMTA supports the goal of ensuring that the state has a diverse portfolio of energy resources.  At the same time, all generation resources, including renewables, should be developed and brought online in a cost-effective manner.  This means a rigorous examination of the cost-effectiveness of resources and a continuation of the present statutory cap on the public goods charge  – which funds above-market RPS costs and other renewable programs. 

The increase in overall spending on ratepayer-funded "green" energy programs – including the California Solar Initiative and recently enacted greenhouse gas bills–will put upward pressure on electricity rates in California.  This is a matter of great concern to California manufacturers, whose rates are already 80 percent higher than rates for their competitors in neighboring Western states.

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