Circuit's Circus

By Published On: October 10, 2009

With better plot twists than one of the former actor-now-governor’s movies, the legislature held energy bills away from Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk, while the gov. took advantage of his firepower to produce favored water-related legislation. There’s federal funds and there’s market funds for energy—one taps the taxpayer and the other taps the market (which is likely to tap ratepayers down the line). In Washington D.C., energy trading regulation appears to be getting watered down with more lobbying from industries—like energy. If federal regulators assume more control over trading, electric utilities could be exempted. That could translate into more investments in infrastructure and a freer ride for ratepayers. There’s still that ticklish potential for gaming the system. On a much more direct line, one federal agency wants to spend $11 billion of taxpayer funds on grid modernization. If you think that standing in the DMV line is a pain, the queue for California Energy Commission licensing looks worse. Energy project developers are “clogging” up the system with inadequate data. Projects aren’t approved due to inadequacies—without approvals, projects can’t raise money to build. Without building, the state can’t meet its renewable energy portfolio mandate. And you thought your last DMV photo was ugly.

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