The state?s energy agencies agree on what the hot policy buttons are?increasing transmission and getting the renewables portfolio standard into gear?but don?t necessarily agree on how to achieve those objectives. In a joint agency Energy Action Plan meeting March 2, some officials said transmission efficiency is thwarted by public power agencies? refusal to become part of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) grid, while others maintained transmission is impaired by duplicative agency processes, epitomized by the California Public Utilities Commission. Despite an explanation by CPUC staff that the commission is attempting to streamline the transmission siting process by accepting CAISO?s determination of ?need? for new lines and not repeating that determination within the commission, the change was still inadequate, according to some. ?We need a more proactive approach,? said California Energy Commission member John Geesman. He called the CPUC process to obtain a certificate of public convenience and necessity a ?gladiatorial? arena in which the use of high-priced lawyers?the ?Johnny Cochrans?? is detrimental to state interests. Geesman has been the key voice for having the CEC take over transmission siting. The munis were taken to task for staying outside the grid operator?s system. ?There?s a suboptimization going on? because of the lack of a single grid operator, said Jim Sweeney, a Stanford professor and Hoover Institute fellow. Sweeney also advised the Schwarzenegger administration during its transition period. John Schumann, director of power system planning for the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power?s grid, was one of the muni representatives reluctant to entertain the idea of a single grid operator. The separation will remain ?unless we can get certainty in serving our load while we cooperate,? he said. Representatives from the CEC, the CPUC, the California Power Authority, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Schwarzenegger administration also heard the latest on the CPUC?s plans to get the renewables portfolio standard solicitation under way. Plans to accelerate the amount of renewables in investor-owned utilities? portfolios have been hampered by the lack of solicitation rules (see <i>Circuit<\/i>, February 27, 2004). The CPUC was thus on the carpet for its sluggishness in finalizing the solicitation procedure needed to launch the renewables portfolio standard law. Nevertheless, Gary Schoonyan, Southern California Edison director of regulatory affairs, said that the utility expects to meet the 20 percent requirement by this year instead of waiting another 6 to 13 years.