Friday, September 24, 2010

California new tougher renewable energy goals

On Thursday September 23, 2010 CARB (California Air Resources Board) approved in a vote the new goal to raise the state's renewable energy target to 33 percent by 2020 from previous 20 percent by 2010.

As usually the new law impose some controversy. While environmentalists say the goals are too low, the large-scale developers say they are too high. Industry professionals indicate this target as more achievable than a prior goal, however it requires faster approvals for plans and ongoing governmental financing support. 

The new target would boost the renewable energy industry but is facing the significant challenges, as the new initiative in November election may revoke the new law and also the state's governor has the right to suspend provisions of the law for up to a year. 

Proposition 23 (Anti-Renewables Ballot), if approved, would suspend AB 32 CA State laws requiring major polluters to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming until unemployment rate drops below 5.5% or less for full year. 

Supporters of the prop 23, including oil companies, fight for jobs and economic stability as a cover (but think and ask yourself could it be really true?) and don't care about the environmental protection as AB 32 "The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" was intended to protect California from human caused global warming. 

AB 32 is the first comprehensive climate change law in the United States that established the goal of reducing California's statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a reduction of approximately 12.5% from current levels and 40% from business-as-usual in 2020.

"We must resist the efforts of out-of-state oil companies to roll back one of the most important environmental protection laws California has ever enacted and one that will serve to increase investment in energy efficiency, produce jobs, and stimulate growth within the state of California," said commission President Michael R. Peevey. "Suspending AB 32 would reverse the regulatory signal to invest in clean, environmentally friendly resources. If this were to occur, customers could face significant carbon abatement costs when AB 32 or federal regulation forces the inclusion of a carbon price into the price of the power. Delaying action now will make it more expensive to reduce greenhouse gases in the future."

The California Public Utilities Commission CPUC has voted to oppose Prop 23 on the following grounds:

1. California is a leader in economically viable environmental protection. AB 32 is one of the most ambitious climate change laws in the U.S. From energy efficiency to renewables, California has taken a leadership role in many of the technologies and strategies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while providing secure, affordable power to its citizens.

2. Proposition 23 will suspend the implementation of AB 32 indefinitely.

3. The indefinite suspension of AB 32 will cause investment dollars currently being spent in California to retreat to other states halting the largest growth industries in the state and stunting job growth.

4. Regulatory uncertainty caused by the indefinite suspension of AB 32 will undermine energy markets, potentially increasing the cost of electricity for consumers.

5. The evidence of the predicted deleterious impacts of climate change is more conclusive than the purported injurious impacts of AB 32.


On August 23, 2010 CARB also adopted goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 and 2035 associated with passenger vehicle travel, for more healthy and sustainable communities that improves the way we plan and promotes more transportation choices. 

Southern California will have to reduce emissions by 8% by 2020 and 13% by 2035, while the Sacramento Region will have to reduce emissions by 7% by 2020 and 16% by 2035. More at http://www.arb.ca.gov/newsrel/newsrelease.php?id=154

California's energy sources in 2008 according to California Energy Commission were: 
Natural Gas 45.7% (with In-State generation 87%)
Coal 18.2% (with In-State generation 7%)
Nuclear 14.4%
Large Hydro 11.0%
Renewables 10.6%
Crude Oil In States source in 2008 was 38%

Forcing more renewable power to be generated in California, would decrease our dependency on foreign oil, reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, and promote the creation of green jobs in The Golden State--direct and indirect.

On September 23, 2010 CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) took another step towards State's renewable energy goal.  

They approved a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company) with First Solar, Inc. for generation from the 300 MW PV Desert Sunlight project that will deliver approximately 619 GWh of energy annually begining in July 2015, as well as 12 renewable energy contracts for SCE (Southern California Edison). 

12 PPAs were executed as part of Edison's 2009 Renewables Standard Contract (RSC) Program for renewable energy projects under 20 MW to provide a streamlined procurement process for smaller renewable energy projects. The total renewable capacity will be approximately 180 MW. Two of the projects are existing landfill gas facilities, eight are new solar photovoltaic facilities, and two are new wind facilities. 

First Solar is pursuing a Department of Energy loan guarantee under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the project. The proposals voted on are available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/AGENDA_RESOLUTION/123619.htm (PG&E) and http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/AGENDA_RESOLUTION/123743.htm (Edison).

The CPUC's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) program requires investor-owned utilities, energy service providers, and community choice aggregators operating in California to obtain 20% of their retail sales from renewable energy sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020

In 2009, PG&E served 14.4% and Edison 17.4% of their retail sales from renewable energy sources. RPS Quarterly Report for the 3rd Quarter 2010 is available at www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Renewables/index.htm.


CPUC authorized SCE (Southern California Edison), PG&E( Pacific Gas and Electric Company), and SDG&E( San Diego Gas & Electric Company) to own and operate solar PV facilities (UOG) as well as to execute SPPAs with IPPs (independent power producers) through a competitive solicitation process. These programs will provide up to 1,100 MW of new solar PV power in California over the next 5 years that will be RPS-eligible. More at http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/energy/Renewables/Utility+PV+Programs.htm

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