Infrastructure Panel to Kick Off CMTA Energy Conference

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, July 22, 2005 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The hot weather in recent weeks has focused attention on something policymakers and large energy users have been focusing on for some time now: the possibility that the state could be facing an energy shortage this summer or next.  

California’s rebounding economy is increasing demand for both electricity and natural gas, but infrastructure development is lagging.  Are we facing another crisis, even before paying off the debt from the first?  This is an extremely important question for manufacturers, who will likely feel the impact of high energy costs or supply interruptions more than any other customer group.

California’s energy infrastructure, and the slow pace of infrastructure additions, will be a key theme at the upcoming CMTA Energy Conference from July 27-29 in South Lake Tahoe: "Energy Markets: Are Manufacturers Making Progress or Losing Ground?"  

The opening panel on July 28, "Energy Infrastructure: Outlook for Transmission, Supply and Customer-Side Investments," will include a roundtable discussion with Dan Skopec, Deputy Cabinet Secretary in the Schwarzenegger Administration; Sean Gallagher, who heads up the Energy Division of the California Public Utilities Commission; Bill Keese, the former California Energy Commission (CEC) chairman who now co-chairs a key  western governors’ energy advisory committee; Barbara Barkovich of Barkovich and Yap; and David Ashuckian of the CEC.

Natural gas infrastructure, supply and prices—a timely topic—will be discussed at a roundtable discussion topic later in the day.  California needs additional natural gas supplies in the immediate future.  Increasing demand has caused the price of natural gas to more than double since 2001.  This significantly impacts electricity prices, given that 40 percent of our state’s electricity generating capacity is fueled by natural gas.  Legislation currently making its way through the legislative process, SB 426 (Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto) and SB 1003 (Martha Escutia, D-Whittier), could delay the development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects, threatening electric system reliability and keeping energy prices too high for California consumers.  

The two bills will also be discussed at the "Outlook on Energy Legislation, Infrastructure and Reliability" panel, one of three conference "wrap-up" panels on Fri., July 29.  The panelists will include Senator Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey); Ken Wiseman, Chairman of the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO); and John Geesman, a member of the California Energy Commission, and a leading advocate for increasing the state’s transmission infrastructure.

The keynote speaker on July 29 is Yakout Mansour, president and CEO of the CAL-ISO, who has made upgrading California’s transmission network a priority, pledging recently that Cal-ISO is now "well-positioned to tackle transmission infrastructure challenges in a more timely and effective manner."

Other topics to be discussed at the CMTA Energy Conference include: renewable energy, global warming and energy efficiency; utility rates for industrial customers, and wholesale market operations: why all customers should care.

It’s not too late to register.

Hope to see you there.
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