California Governor Doesn’t Favor Domestic Renewables, but his Energy Commission Makes More Sense

Date: 17 Sep 2009 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

The California legislature’s recent passage of a 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard by 2020 is threatened by the governor, because he doesn’t like the favoritism shown in-state generation. 

Mr. Schwarzenegger has vowed to veto the legislation, according to The Los Angeles Times, because it requires too much of the energy to be generated in-state (something that California industries oppose due to concerns about rising prices).

Ironically, in their report last fall, the California Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative found that the most economic strategy to reach 33% by 2020 is to get about three-quarters of new renewables from in-state sources.  While the remaining 25% could come from out-of-state, it would do so at only a savings of 1-2 cents per kWh – a cost that when spread over all ratepayers would be closer to 0.1 cents per kWh.  

And Schwarzenegger also seems to be oblivious to the efforts of other states to prioritize in-state generation for the economic benefits of achieving their RPS goals.

Ohio, for example, requires half of its renewable energy mandate to be met with in-state production.

Other states are more subtle, according to Justin Barnes of the North Carolina Solar Center — perhaps partly to avoid problems with the Constitution’s commerce clause in relation to interstate transactions.

Sometimes, Mr. Barnes said in an e-mail message, “a state will simply apply a multiplier to renewable energy certificates produced from in-state resources.” Examples include Colorado and Missouri; both have a 1.25 multiplier for in-state resources in their renewable energy requirements.

For more information on how many states can achieve their renewable energy goals with in-state generation, see the soon-to-be-updated Energy Self-Reliant States, from ILSR.


John Farrell
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.