Energy Policy or Location
"You really don't count on wind energy as capacity. It is different from other technologies because it can't be dispatched," said Christine Real de Azua, assistant director of communications for the American Wind Energy Association.
Editor's Note:This was first published on 8/21/06
Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled that the air board approved the larger plan to implement AB32 prior to completing the required environmental review, and that the board failed to adequately consider alternatives to cap and trade.
The Air Resources Board "seeks to create a fait accompli by premature establishment of a cap-and-trade program before alternative (sic) can be exposed to public comment and properly evaluated by the ARB itself."
As California takes its first baby steps toward implementing the most aggressive climate-change policy in the country, experts debate the economic feasibility of attaining the state`s goals.
Its overarching policy lies in the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which requires greenhouse gas emissions in the state to fall back to 1990 levels by 2020. One of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger`s executive orders, S-3-25, addresses long-term goals by aiming at an 80 percent emissions reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
The state`s ability to reach these goals holds implications not only for Californians, but the rest of the nation`s climate-change policy as well, Samuel Thernstrom, director of the American Enterprise Institute`s program on culture and freedom, said at a panel discussion last week.
Brown's goal, being fleshed out this week at an invitation-only conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, is to build 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable energy, building on and extending former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's target of 5,000 MW by 2020.
The new California regulation requires that a third of the state's power supply, or an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 megawatts, must come from a renewable source, said Stanley Young, a spokesman for the air board. ..."What that will do is finance wind farms in Montana, whether those electrons make it to California or someplace else," said Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
California's increasing use of renewable power will come at a price, pushing up electricity bills across the state.
And while it's impossible to tell how big the cost to consumers will be, some experts fear the total cost of renewable energy in California will be in the billions of dollars.
"All this makes this whole situation so gray. And if you're a business trying to decide whether you should invest half a billion dollars in a wind farm in Oregon or Washington, or Montana for that matter, your financial folks are going to be pretty scared," said John Audley, deputy director of the Renewable Northwest Project.
Texas cares little for environmental niceties. Its governor, Rick Perry, bashes the Environmental Protection Agency at every opportunity, and recently branded the climate bill that passed the House of Representatives a "legislative monstrosity."
Yet the oil-and-gas state has nonetheless emerged as the nation's top producer of a commodity prized by environmentalists: wind power. Eager developers are covering its desolate western mesas with giant turbines. The world's largest wind farm began operations in Texas this month, and the state now has close to three times as much wind capacity as Iowa, the second-ranked state.
A landmark global warming law that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is scheduled to sign today commits California to the ambitious goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.
How exactly that will be accomplished — and at what cost — is unknown. But it’s clear that if the state intends to meet its goals, Californians will see many changes over the next 14 years, from higher fuel prices to bigger forests.....But California also is taking a big risk. If others do not follow, the state’s residents and companies could end up paying hundreds of millions of dollars to make cuts that by themselves will do little to curb global warming.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, the state's governor, has supported controversial proposals by the California's energy commission to impose strict energy consumption limits on TVs with screens that are more than 40 inches wide.
The commission claims that California's estimated 35 million televisions and related gadgets account for about 10 per cent of household energy consumption in the state.
GILLETTE -- Wyoming officials watched with interest as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday signed into law a sweeping global warming initiative that imposes the nation's first cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
When the idea for such a bill was recommended about a year ago, Wyoming energy officials reacted strongly against it -- and even sent a letter to Schwarzenegger's office suggesting it may violate interstate commerce laws.
Called for reaction on Wednesday, Gov. Dave Freudenthal's energy adviser, Rob Hurless, said he wasn't prepared to discuss interstate commerce concerns, but said the California law definitely is not a threat to Wyoming's ambitions to export more electricity.
California is weighing how to avoid a looming electricity crisis that could be brought on by its growing reliance on wind and solar power. ...the surplus generating capacity doesn't guarantee steady power flow. Even though California has a lot of plants, it doesn't have the right mix: Many of the solar and wind sources added in recent years have actually made the system more fragile, because they provide power intermittently.
California lawmakers approved one of the world's most aggressive renewable-energy mandates early Saturday in legislation that would require the state's utilities to use renewable sources like the sun and wind to generate a third of the power they sell by 2020.
The proposal is a centerpiece of the state's 2006 plan to combat climate change, which has broad public support. And although it's more aggressive than a similar federal proposal pending in Congress, the legislation could influence decisions in Washington.
The California Public Utilities Commission recently adopted a measure that may have a negative effect on Wyoming's wind energy market.
In March, the commission issued an order limiting the volume of tradable renewable energy credits that public utilities there can buy to meet California's renewable portfolio standard.
A draft decision released late Wednesday by a California Public Utilities
Commission judge would authorize the use of tradable renewable energy credits in efforts to comply with the state's renewable mandate.
The decision, crafted by administrative law judge Anne Simon defines
rules for a tradable REC market. ...With an eye on protecting ratepayers from excessive payments for tradable RECs, a transitional price cap of $50/REC used by investor-owned utilities would be implemented, the plan says.
This means an IOU could not use for RPS compliance a tradable REC for which it paid more than $50 on a levelized basis.
At the State Capitol, boosting the use of solar power, wind generators and other renewable energy sources is seen as a boon for both the environment and the economy in electricity-hungry California.
But with two weeks left in the legislative session, Democrats are hustling to fulfill a commitment they made to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to pass a law to require all utilities to get a third of their power from "green" sources by 2020.
California's push to supersize its renewable energy standards could drive electricity rates higher for Northwest consumers, strain the west's transmission and hydroelectric systems, and create a host of thorny policy issues.
The California Assembly passed a pair of bills Friday to create the nation's most aggressive renewable energy mandate. It would require utilities to meet one third of their customers' needs with green energy such as wind, solar and geothermal by 2020.
But even del Cardayre, as passionate and committed as he is, working for a company fueled by millions of dollars in venture capital and at the epicenter of Silicon Valley's fast-growing clean-technology industry, offers a sober assessment of the state's ambitious goals to fight global warming.
"There is definitely not a silver bullet," del Cardayre said.
Nearly one year after California passed landmark legislation to cut carbon-dioxide emissions 25 percent in 13 years, the state already risks failure.
But as California lawmakers take up the nitty gritty task of implementing the law, they are haggling over what the 1990 benchmark even is and exactly who will be asked to make emission cuts.
And industry representatives now warning that cutting production may be the only way they can meet its requirements. ...Manufacturers have warned the law could put factories out of business, although the group's trade association could not identify a company that has closed or plans to leave California.
What they do argue is that the global warming law will only add to the price of doing business in a state already known for its strict regulatory environment.
California is the big dog in the fight, reaching into the Northwest to buy large amounts of wind power from Columbia Gorge projects. Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and San Francisco's Pacific Gas & Electric are among those securing long-term contracts for hundreds of megawatts of wind power in Oregon and Washington.
"They're certainly trying to grab it everywhere they can," said Lee Beyer, chairman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission, which regulates the state's large utilities.
The motivation behind California's quest? A rigorous law that says renewable energy must account for 20 percent of electricity sales by 2010.