IEPR Update Approved at CEC

By Published On: February 15, 2013

The California Energy Commission this week unanimously approved the biennial update of its Integrated Energy Policy Report, which focuses heavily on the renewable component of the state’s loading order. “We have spent the past two years very focused on renewable energy at the Governor’s direction,” CEC Chair Bob Weisenmiller said before the document’s approval during the Feb. 13 business meeting. “We’ve had a very solid approach on renewables.” The 2012 IEPR update lists and recommends five overarching strategies to guide the state in its efforts to increase renewable electricity generation. Among them: identifying and prioritizing geographic areas for renewable development; evaluating costs and benefits of renewable projects; and minimizing interconnection costs and time at the transmission and distribution levels. The other strategies outlined are: promoting incentives for projects that create in-state jobs and economic benefits; and promoting and coordinating existing financing and incentive programs for the renewable development field. The policy report, or IEPR, is generated for state lawmakers every odd-numbered year. It includes assessments and forecasts of all aspects of energy industry supply, production, transportation, delivery and distribution, demand, and prices. Its formulation is mandated under the state public resources code. In years when an IEPR isn’t produced, an update of the most recent report is generated. In addition to the above-listed strategies, the 2012 update covers five activities that were initiated during the 2011 IEPR that were either continued or completed in 2012. They include: -The CEC’s 10-year electricity and natural gas demand forecast, which was adopted in June 2012; -Two reports on the natural gas market outlook and trends, which were finalized in 2012; -An updated assessment of combined heat and power (CHP) potential and a staff white paper on CHP barriers; -An ongoing assessment of electricity infrastructure needs in Southern California; and -A renewable action plan addressing major challenges to renewable development in California, which provides a set of recommendations and actions to achieve the 33 percent renewable portfolio standard and potentially set higher targets in the future. “I think at this point the good news is the other part of the loading order will have more of a focus this year on energy efficiency and demand response,” Weisenmiller said before the 3-0 vote to approve the IEPR update. “The notion is to pivot this year to other topics.” Also during the meeting, Weisenmiller briefly addressed the appointments of David Hochschild and Janea Scott to the Energy Commission, an act that was announced by Gov. Jerry Brown’s office Feb. 11. “This is really great news, we have two very strong, very welcome commissioners coming,” Weisenmiller said. Hochschild, 41, of Berkeley, was vice president of external relations at Solaria Corp. from 2007 to 2012. He had a stint as a San Francisco public utilities commissioner from 2007 to 2008. According to a bio provided by the governor’s office, Hochschild was also executive director at PV Now, a coalition of solar companies, from 2006 to 2007, and was co-founder of and director of policy for the grass roots solar advocacy group Vote Solar Initiative from 2002 to 2006. Scott, 39, currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. Since 2009, she’s been deputy counselor for renewable energy and special assistant to the counselor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary. From 2000 to 2009, she served in multiple positions at the Environmental Defense Fund, including senior attorney and staff attorney. Weisenmiller said that the two are likely to be sworn in to the board soon. Since Scott is relocating from the Washington, DC, area, she may not be seated for a month or so. If both Hochschild and Scott are confirmed by the state Senate, it would bring the CEC board to its full allotment of five members for the first time since January 2011.

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