New 2030 GHG limit for electricity production sought

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Jan. 10, 2014 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

A bill introduced last year, AB 177 by V. Manuel Pérez, D-Coachella, was significantly amended this week. Initially, it would have increased the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) for the electric utilities. Now it allows the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set a greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction standard for electricity. 

California climate change policies should support the economy and protect consumers by ensuring that our goals are achievable, affordable and will not harm jobs. AB 177 fails to meet this standard and CMTA is opposing it.

AB 32 (the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) requires CARB to make recommendations to the Governor and the legislature on how to continue statewide reductions of GHG beyond 2020, not to set a new limit. This process is now underway. The recommendations should include full evaluation of the costs and economic impacts of achieving the 2020 goal, the level of participation by other states and regions, and the prospective costs and feasibility of further reductions. AB 177 takes a premature, fragmented approach to climate policy and grants too much authority to CARB.

Existing laws and current regulations direct utilities to procure cost-effective preferred resources which will minimize emissions over the long term. A 2030 limit that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions beyond a level to be achieved by the current procurement standard would increase electric rates in California, already among the highest in the nation. AB 177 threatens jobs and the economy. 

State environmental and energy agencies are working together to address the replacement of SONG’s (San Onofre Nuclear Generation) and the retirement of coastal power plants to maintain system reliability and control costs in an environmentally sensitive manner. In the next decade the increasing needs for electricity due to economic recovery and consumer demands will also put pressure on rates and reliability. AB 177 would add new procurement requirements that will interfere with these important decisions, increasing the risks and costs for electric consumers. 

AB 177 will be heard on January 13 in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. Two-year bills, as this one is, must clear their house of origin by the end of January to remain viable. 

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