Renewable portfolio bill stalled

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 4, 2007 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Legislation increasing the utility renewable electricity portfolio requirement from 20 percent to one-third has stalled in the Assembly, and won’t be acted upon again until next January at the earliest.

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 bill was due to be heard in the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on April 23 but was pulled from the agenda by Assemblyman Levine after it became apparent it did not have the votes needed to get out of committee.

Meanwhile, the 20 percent RPS requirement remains in effect, pursuant to existing law.  The current estimated deliveries of renewable power for the three large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are as follows:

      Pacific Gas & Electric – 12.4 percent (9,251 gigawatt hours)
      Southern California Edison – 16.7 percent (12,702 gigawatt hours)
      San Diego Gas and Electric – 6.3 percent (1,047 gigawatt 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 the 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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