CEC Policy Report Aims for Better Coordination

By Published On: December 9, 2011

At the top of the California Energy Commission’s to-do list for 2012 is improving coordination and communication between itself and its sister agencies, according to a draft of the commission’s 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report. The draft report, which was publicly released Dec. 5, looks at ways to improve synchronization of the state’s major energy agencies. “Energy planning is becoming increasingly complex,” commission chair Bob Weisenmiller stated. “Smart decisions must be made well in advance of when energy is needed.” Among the commission’s specific 2012 goals are: -Working closely with other agencies and stakeholders to develop a renewable energy strategic plan identifying strategies to overcome challenges to developing renewable generating facilities, and integrating the facilities into the state’s electricity grid; -Possibly updating and augmenting rules and regulations that guide and define the commission’s power plant licensing process; and -Evaluating the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, describing the funded projects, and reporting on the progress toward achieving project goals and expected benefits. To date, the Energy Commission has funded 86 projects totaling $198.4 million. The draft IEPR says better coordination is needed to support the state’s renewable energy and clean air goals. Those goals include the “clean energy jobs plan,” the 33 percent renewable portfolio standards, and Assembly Bill 32--the state’s climate protection law. The report also delves into other upcoming issues, including in-state bio-power generation, and the expiration of the state’s public goods charge. Regarding in-state bio-power, generation is expected to increase in the short term. By the end of 2012, three in-state coal facilities complete full fuel conversion to biomass. This is expected to add more than 100 MW of capacity to the grid. The public goods charge expires Jan. 1. If not renewed, then the CEC loses funding for state incentive programs for renewable and energy efficiency programs. The California Public Utilities Commission is expected to continue the funding administratively. The report assesses major energy trends and issues facing the state’s electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuel sectors and gives policy recommendations to conserve resources plus protect the environment and ensure energy supplies. The commission’s required to prepare a report in every odd numbered year, with details on energy supply and demand, delivery and distribution and major energy challenges facing the state. In even-numbered years, the CEC’s required to compile an update that covers any issues that may have arisen since the previous year’s report. The public has until Dec. 23 to file written comments on the draft report for possible inclusion in the final document, which is scheduled for a Jan. 24, 2012, release. The Energy Commission’s expected to adopt the final report next February.

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