The California Energy Commission will investigate the state's legal power to set standards for California utilities that purchase power from coal plant operators in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At its July 13 business meeting, the commission asked Bill Chamberlain, CEC chief counsel, to outline options for setting such a standard consistent with the Federal Power Act and the interstate commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution. The potential for a state standard for coal emissions "has come up in other conversations outside the Integrated Energy Policy Report process," Joe Desmond, commission chair, said. A memorandum from counsel that outlines legal options "would help foster" discussions on possible state coal power procurement standards. California receives about 20 percent of its electricity from coal plants outside the state, according to the CEC, and a host of new coal-fired plants are being built or planned in the Intermountain West, which has abundant coal resources. Commissioner John Geesman suggested that a procurement standard for coal power might be pegged to greenhouse gas emissions. Plants that use integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) technology would be far more welcome in the state's energy portfolio than conventional coal plants. IGCC plants emit 10 percent less carbon dioxide than conventional coal power plants, and the U.S. Department of Energy is seeking to sequester the carbon dioxide emissions by capturing them and pumping them into old oil fields to maintain well pressure and enhance petroleum recovery. DOE envisions that up to 90 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions could be captured. The commission delayed until August 24 hearings on appeals filed by investor-owned utilities that want to keep data secret. Commission staff have requested detailed data from utilities in order to develop the 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report. The report is due in November. The CEC plans to release data on the energy production and resource capacity outlook for each utility on both a quarterly and annual basis for the period 2009 through 2016 under different scenarios. It will keep near-term data for the period 2006 through 2008 confidential. While the utilities generally agree that the CEC needs the data to determine whether utilities have the needed resources to meet projected energy demand, they are worried that disclosure could open the door for power generators to manipulate prices. The appeals are not related to a lawsuit filed by Southern California Edison last month (<i>Circuit<\/i>, June 17, 2005) that contested similar disclosure of peak-demand data, said Susanne Garfield, CEC spokesperson. The commission delayed hearing the latest appeals at the request of the utilities, which said they needed more time to prepare their arguments. Rebuttals of the CEC position on the issue are due August 12. In other action, the commission deemed complete an application for expanded capacity at Calpine's Pastoria Energy Facility in Kern County. Calpine intends to add a new turbine with a capacity of 160 MW. The proposed expansion follows completion of 500 MW of new capacity at the plant, which brought its total existing capacity up to 750 MW earlier this month (<i>Circuit<\/i>, July 8, 2005).