CEC Adopts Muni Greenhouse Gas Standard

By Published On: May 25, 2007

The California Energy Commission unanimously voted to adopt statewide regulations that would compel municipally owned electricity generators to comply with a greenhouse gas emissions performance standard. The commission itself would establish the criteria. The regulations are part of SB 1368, a companion to the state Global Warming Solutions Act, which is aimed at curbing carbon dioxide, methane, and other gas emissions that have been linked to harmful environmental changes. The Energy Commission’s May 23 action limits the purchase of electricity from power plants that fail to meet strict emissions standards; it also develops a system for trading emissions credits. The regulation, which affects municipal utilities such as the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, bars the utilities from signing long-term purchase deals with plants that produce emissions higher than 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide/MWh, thereby effectively preventing California electricity suppliers from importing electricity from many coal-burning plants. California doesn’t have any large-scale coal-fired plants, but it gets about 20 percent of its electricity from such plants outside the state. Also at the meeting, the commission found that data submitted were inadequate for the San Gabriel Generating Station project–slowing the power plant’s ability to move ahead in its siting process. On April 13, Reliant Energy subsidiary San Gabriel Power Generation, LLC submitted an application for certification to build and operate the San Gabriel Generating Station, a 656 MW combined-cycle plant in Rancho Bernardino, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles. However, CEC staff determined that the certification application doesn’t meet legal requirements because of deficiencies in nine areas: air quality, cultural resources, land use, noise, project overview, socioeconomics, traffic/transportation, transmission system engineering, and water resources. The commission voted not to approve the certification application until additional information is supplied in data-adequacy worksheets. Also at the meeting, the commission approved an amendment to the Los Medanos Energy Center project to reduce the emissions limit for particulate matter smaller than 10 microns from 131.6 tons to 69.2 tons annually and allow the project to receive an emissions reduction credit from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The commission also approved the relocation of $31.5 million from various renewable energy program funding sources to the emerging renewables program for the purpose of paying rebates for the installation of renewable energy systems. Also approved was a $1.05 million contract with University of California, Berkeley, for fault analysis in underground cables. Under the project, an academic team will be organized to identify, isolate, and evaluate problems with various underground cable failure mechanisms and diagnostic techniques.

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