There are so many moving parts to California's transmission engine that what the chassis holding them together will look like is a big question. Three energy agency officials attempted to grasp how to meld the state's disparate transmission plans and policies into the California Public Utilities Commission's 2006 procurement planning to get high-voltage lines built as soon as possible. Gary Ackerman, executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, asked for "concrete evidence of what you are doing" at the December 14 workshop. He suggested that CPUC member Dian Grueneich, California Energy Commission chair Joe Desmond, and California Independent System Operator chief executive officer Yakout Mansour put their agreement into a memorandum of understanding. "You've got to have more than a Dian, Joe, and Yakout deal. The change has got to survive you," Ackerman said. Last week, the CPUC released its first cut on the upcoming procurement process for the three investor-owned utilities - a process that will fold in transmission planning (Circuit, Dec. 9, 2005). Grueneich, who has taken the lead on streamlining transmission planning at the CPUC while keeping at bay the fight over which agency should have siting authority, said she had considered a memorandum such as the one Ackerman suggested. However, her effort switched from developing one to folding it into the procurement process. Other stakeholders raised concerns about how renewables projects, public power agencies, and alternatives to utility transmission proposals would fit into the developing transmission scheme. The CPUC is expected to issue a draft order to implement rulemaking on the issue in January. Mansour said next month CAISO will release its transmission plan, based partly on the Energy Commission's 2005 Integrated Energy Policy Report. The rough outline of the procurement proceeding in which transmission policy streamlining will be discussed tries to represent the CPUC's, the Energy Commission's, and the grid operator's "best thinking" to ensure that the state erects transmission lines, Grueneich said. Transmission planning "is an activity that should not be done in isolation or by any one agency," she added. Its time horizon spans between 5 and 15 years. The process would have the CEC identify transmission corridors. It would require CAISO to propose a method for allocating costs arising from projects that provide benefits and identify transmission benchmark projects.