Air Board Eyes Two Credit Options in 33% Standard

By Published On: March 19, 2010

As the California Air Resources Board advances work on a 33 percent renewable energy standard it is weighing competing options for how to incorporate renewable energy credits. At a March 18 workshop on the Air Board staff’s draft rule, David Mehl, energy section manager, said that several major features remain unsettled. They include whether to incorporate the California Public Utilities Commission’s decision on renewable energy credits or pursue a more free wheeling approach. The CPUC’s decision would limit the use of the credits, while the Air Board staff is contemplating allowing their unlimited use (Current, March 12, 2010). Also up in the air, said Mehl, is whether to include the Department of Water Resources and Western Area Power Administration under the standard. Although the Air Board is planning to adopt the standard under AB 32, the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law, the Air Board plans to measure compliance with the 33 percent renewable energy standard on a MWh basis, said Gary Collord, air pollution specialist. The Air Board, he explained, would translate each MWh of renewable energy under the standard into an associated emissions reduction to credit toward AB 32’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Compliance with the rule would be measured based on the three-year average level of renewable energy. The rule would apply both to investor- and publicly-owned utilities, with a potential exemption for some of the state’s smallest utilities that sell less than 200,000 MWh/year of power. Next in the rulemaking process, staff members said, the Air Board plans to release an economic and environmental analysis in early April. A workshop to discuss the documents is planned on April 5.

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