LAO report on state energy programs

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 10, 2013 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has released a new report examining the structure and effectiveness of the state’s more than a dozen alternative and energy efficiency programs. According to the LAO, the state’s current energy focus “lacks a comprehensive framework that fully coordinates activities to help ensure the state’s goals are achieved in the most cost-effective manner.” The report begins by providing a brief summary and analysis of the state’s four categories of energy programs: energy efficiency, research, renewable energy and alternative transportation and low carbon fuels programs. The LAO identifies the three main agencies charged with administering these programs – the Air Resources Board (ARB), California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) – and reveals that over the last 10 to 15 years about $15 billion has been spent supporting agency programs and policies.

In order to provide a more streamlined and comprehensive framework, the LAO argues that duplicate programs and policies should be identified and eliminated; a mechanism measuring the cost effectiveness of all energy programs needs to be formulated; and energy policies should be consistent amongst state agencies and the Legislature. To meet these goals, the LAO recommends the Legislature direct the CEC as the designated agency in charge of developing a comprehensive statewide energy framework and submit a plan by January 2014. Additionally, the LAO recommends that the CEC coordinate with the ARB and CPUC on the framework’s creation when formulating and identifying major energy goals in order to give structure to program and agency coordination.  As for developing a mechanism to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of energy programs, the LAO recommends utilizing outside resources.

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