Assessing the state?s energy outlook, with both its problems and potential, for a report that will grab the attention of the governor was the focus of a California Energy Commission workshop held August 18. The CEC is working with its sister agencies and stakeholders to set priorities and parameters for its 2005 Integrated Energy Report. The commission?s earlier IEP study has sat on the governor?s shelf for months. The report is somewhat of a ?bureaucratic art form,? admitted commissioner John Geesman. He pointed out that the 2003 IEP report, never formally adopted, was released just after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger came into office, when he lacked energy staff. This time around, the governor?s staff is ?on board,? according to Geesman. The expectation is that the upcoming report, set to be adopted by the CEC November 3, will get Schwarzenegger?s attention. Priorities in the new report, according to the workshop, include siting new transmission lines and power projects. Also discussed were integrating renewables into utility systems, ensuring that procurement decisions are made out in the open, and factoring in the state?s dwindling water supply as accompanied by rising electricity demand from the water supply sector. ?The bottom-line query is why isn?t anything being built?? said Steven Kelly, policy director for the Independent Energy Producers. Geesman agreed, saying the state is way behind on permitting transmission. ?The state needs to respond,? he said. Kelly pitched the idea of developing an alternative financing mechanism to help build transmission to accommodate new gas-fired and renewables units. He suggested tapping into the state Infrastructure Bank?s bonding authority or allowing the California Power Authority to access its $5 billion in bonding authority, with the funds to be repaid by utility ratepayers. Kelly, along with others, applauded the commission for its openness, adding that it should be a model for other agencies. Elsewhere, particularly at the California Public Utilities Commission, ?there is a dearth of information that limits the number of parties that can participate,? he noted. Kelly also suggested the CEC develop standards that define ?open, competitive procurement.? Jane Turnbull, energy consultant for the League of Women Voters, supports green tags but questions the wisdom of large subsidies for solar-powered projects. The green certification program, which represents the green attribute of a renewable power supply, ?holds a lot of promise,? she said. She recommended it be tried out on a pilot basis to identify potential pitfalls. At the same time, Turnbull said, funding for solar subsidies in these days of constrained budgets ?has to take its place next to education and social services.? She also suggested that the state consider offering tax incentives to reduce greenhouse gases to ameliorate global warming. ?We need to give a lot more notoriety to climate change,? agreed CEC commissioner Jim Boyd. Global warming, which along with drought is reducing snowpack-fed reservoirs, is diminishing hydropower, warned Lon House, Association of Water Agencies energy consultant. He urged the commission to factor in the impacts of tight water supplies in a semiarid region along with growing power demand. The Southwest is suffering a drought ?rivaling the drought that doomed the Anasazi culture,? House warned. This in turn affects hydro supplies from Hoover Dam and water supplies to Southern California. Desalination facilities that create potable water consume between 30 MW and 50 MW. He also pointed out that electricity demand has been further taxed recently by increased pumping of groundwater. Although it was not addressed at this week?s workshop, Geesman said a key focus of the report will be the impact and role of power development?plants, liquefied natural gas terminals, gas pipelines, and renewables?along the California-Mexico border. Earlier this month, Governor Schwarzenegger met with Mexican governors to discuss the issue. Geesman said there will be an emphasis on California and Mexican officials jointly planning energy development along the border region.