CEC Adopts Integrated Energy Policy Report

By Published On: December 14, 2003

Signaling a possible escalation of turf wars, the California Energy Commission unanimously adopted a report on November 12 that included a call for it to take over transmission permitting from the California Public Utilities Commission. The Integrated Energy Policy Report, mandated by legislation, is designed to guide energy policy development. Transmission siting “needs to be under one umbrella” to work effectively, asserted CEC member Robert Pernell. He and his fellow commissioners see consolidation of transmission and power plant siting under their roof as achieving that goal. CPUC president Michael Peevey has made it clear that his agency will not give up its transmission siting authority without a fight. San Diego Gas & Electric backed the CEC?s plan to take over the transmission certification process. The utility is tired of being “whipsawed” between agencies, said SDG&E?s Wayne Sakarias. Southern California Edison?s Manual Alvarez stepped back, saying the utility would “let the elephants fight over jurisdiction.” In one of several last-minute changes, the report called for all load-serving entities, not just investor-owned utilities, to have renewable supplies provide 20 percent of their power by 2010. Without consolidating transmission planning, it is doubtful that upgrades vital to supporting renewable supply goals would be carried out, Sakarias added. According to Steven Kelly, Independent Energy Producers regulatory director, the final report put teeth in the draft?s core-noncore split recommendation to leverage customer choice. The California Manufacturers and Technology Association also embraced the strengthened recommendation. While pushing streamlining of transmission planning, the report also called for a “transparent” process to evaluate distributed generation, on top of CPUC efforts. The CPUC is working on furthering the development of DG. All three utilities rebuffed this recommendation, saying the CPUC already does a good job in that arena. “We don?t want to ruin what we already have that works,” Sakarias said. The report calls for an aggressive push on energy efficiency, but Pacific Gas & Electric?s Les Guliasi cautioned that proposing to ramp up funding for savings of an additional 1,700 MW by 2008 may not be realistic. PG&E is coping with an oversupply of Department of Water Resources power, which it sells off at a loss, he said. A late change to the report shifted savings targets from general to peak demand reduction. The report heads to the legislature and the new governor for further scrutiny.

Share this story

Not a member yet?

Subscribe Now