Emissions, Policy & Regulations, Renewables

California Regulators Adopts Plan to Lower Greenhouse Emissions

By Editors of Power Engineering

The California Public Utilities Commission has adopted a planning process to ensure the electric sector is on track to help the state meet its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target, at least cost, while maintaining electric service reliability.

The decision establishes a two-year integrated resource planning cycle for electricity providers. The first year of the cycle is designed to evaluate the appropriate emission planning targets for the electric sector, and to identify the optimal mix of system-wide resources capable of meeting these targets. The second year is designed to consider the suite of actions each electricity provider proposes to take.

The CPUC adopted a statewide electric sector carbon reduction target of 42 MMT by 2030, which represents a 50 percent reduction in electric sector carbon emissions from 2015 levels and a 61 percent reduction from 1990 levels.

In order to provide a general planning direction to the electric sector, the CPUC adopted a portfolio of energy resources including 10,200 MW of new renewable energy resources and 2,000 MW of new battery storage resources by 2030. The commission endorses a steady approach to ongoing procurement of zero-carbon resources over the planning horizon to 2030, which subjects consumers to less financial risk.

“California isn’t just sitting back watching our successful renewable energy programs continue to grow. This decision establishes an aggressive greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and implements an entirely new planning framework for the electric sector that focuses electricity providers on finding optimal strategies to reduce carbon emissions at least cost while maintaining grid reliability,” said Commissioner Liane M. Randolph, who is assigned to the proceeding.

“The integrated resource planning framework represents a great step forward in optimizing our procurement to reduce greenhouse gases and costs,” said Commissioner Carla J. Peterman. “I look forward to further integrating our electric vehicles and energy efficiency investments into the modeling.”

 “This decision puts into practice important environmental justice mandates, including that utilities must detail their plans for reducing localized air pollutants in disadvantaged communities, and spell out how they will give preferences for procuring non-fossil resources in these communities,” said Commissioner Clifford Rechtschaffen.

The proposal adopted is the culmination of two years of staff work that included 13 webinars, eight workshops, 11 staff proposals, and review of thousands of pages of public comments from more than 50 parties.

The full proposal can be read here