Renewable Portfolio Standard bills raise concerns

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Aug. 21, 2009 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Two bills, SB 14 by Joe Simitian (D - Palo Alto) and AB 64 by Paul Krekorian (D - Burbank) would raise the amount of renewable power purchased by utilities and energy service providers to 33 percent by 2020 but severely limit the amount of renewable power that could be generated outside the state.  A coalition of utilities and the California Independent System Operator believe that such limitations would have the "potential to seriously affect our ability" to assure grid reliability, meet the 33 percent goal, and minimize adverse environmental impacts of developing the infrastructure to meet the goal.

Small consumer groups and labor unions want state policy to favor in-state "renewables" development to promote new jobs.  However, California is part of a western electric grid, with energy flowing throughout the western states based on seasonal demands, transmission capability, availability of hydroelectric power, and other operating and cost characteristics of generation.  National standards govern how the grid must be operated to ensure reliability.  Since wind and solar energy are intermittent, other resources or storage are required to balance and firm those supplies.

The coalition questions the jobs and economic development benefits of limiting out-of-state renewables.  They note that the "increased pressure on electric rates has the potential to overwhelm any such benefits" and such policies would "hurt California manufacturing jobs and the rest of California’s economy." CMTA has been making this argument in testimony before legislative committees. They also note that in-state development forced by such limits could impact critical species habitats and decrease use of existing transmission that would have negligible environmental impacts.

CMTA opposes both SB 14 and AB 64.

To gain more perspective on California's energy situation and renewables, you can view Dr. Tim Considine's CMTA energy conference presentation - Video  |  Powerpoint  |  Research findings.
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