Article

Utilities: Legislation is too costly

Burbank Water and Power officials are urging the City Council to oppose legislation that would force them to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, arguing the requirements would drive up utility rates and strain existing electric transmission assets that the state is in short supply of.

Bills would change renewable source requirements, but not count sources from out of state.

Burbank Water and Power officials are urging the City Council to oppose legislation that would force them to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, arguing the requirements would drive up utility rates and strain existing electric transmission assets that the state is in short supply of.

The council on Tuesday is slated to review two bills - Assembly Bill 64 and Senate Bill 14 - that aim to regulate renewable energy into the state from outside sources. The council last year voted to increase the city's renewable portfolio standard from 20% by 2017 to 33% by 2020, mirroring the proposed bills. But the divergence between the city's plans and the bill's requirements comes in delivery.

Nine percent of the utility's renewable energy comes from a mix of hydrologic and wind projects in states such as Utah, Oregon and Washington.

Another 2% comes from in-state, bringing the utility's total to 11%.

Burbank is on pace to have 20% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2011. And Glendale, which is at 21% with about 12% coming from out of state, bested its goal of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Bills would change renewable source requirements, but not count sources from out of state.

Burbank Water and Power officials are urging the City Council to oppose legislation that would force them to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, arguing the requirements would drive up utility rates and strain existing electric transmission assets that the state is in short supply of.

The council on Tuesday is slated to review two bills - Assembly Bill 64 and Senate Bill 14 - that aim to regulate renewable energy into the state from outside sources. The council last year voted to increase the city's renewable portfolio standard from 20% by 2017 to 33% by 2020, mirroring the proposed bills. But the divergence between the city's plans and the bill's requirements comes in delivery.

Nine percent of the utility's renewable energy comes from a mix of hydrologic and wind projects in states such as Utah, Oregon and Washington.

Another 2% comes from in-state, bringing the utility's total to 11%.

Burbank is on pace to have 20% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2011. And Glendale, which is at 21% with about 12% coming from out of state, bested its goal of reaching 20% by 2017.

General managers for both utilities said they opposed the legislation.

"Bottom line is they are bad bills," said Ron Davis, general manager of Burbank Water and Power. "What they are doing is basically pandering to political interests of labor and trying to accomplish the interests of the environmental community that needlessly drives up the cost of achieving 33%."

The bills, one of which was authored by Assemblyman Paul Krekorian, have the potential of substantially negating both utilities' ability to count renewable resources obtained from outside the state.

Among Burbank's commitments are a 16-year contract with PPM Energy Inc. to provide 5 megawatts of wind power from a facility in southwest Wyoming and a 20-year contract for wind energy from a new facility being built in central Utah.

"This is a huge, huge project," Krekorian's press secretary, Jeremy Oberstein, said.

"This would precipitously change the landscape in California for years to come."

The bill would create green jobs across the state, he said, and has bipartisan support.

Still, the utility has been working with the bill's authors for several months and don't appear to be nearing a resolution, said Lianne McGinley, legislative analyst for Burbank Water and Power.

"We think the [33%] goal is commendable," Davis said. "Wasting public funds is not something we can do at this time, nor can Californian afford to."

The utility estimates that the 33% benchmark would tack an additional 30% onto residents' bills, but could end up adding an additional 10%, Davis said.

Transmission, a portion of the plan that could create hundreds if not thousands of jobs, is also a major factor in the utilities' opposition, said Glenn Steiger, general manager of Glendale Water & Power.

Building transmission lines is an unpopular and expensive undertaking, he said.

"Who is going to let you route the power line through their city and into the San Fernando Valley?" Davis said.

That provision is probably the most onerous, said Councilman Dave Golonski.

"We share the goal of increasing renewable energy," he said. "We made plans long before Sacramento joined the game and we just want to make sure we can do that in a reasonably cost-effective way for our rate payers."


Source: http://www.burbankleader.co...

JUL 4 2009
https://www.windaction.org/posts/20984-utilities-legislation-is-too-costly
back to top