AEE to California: Can we have an integrated energy vision?

It’s no secret that California is a clean energy leader: utilities are well on their way to meeting the state’s 33 percent RPS goals, rooftop solar is going gangbusters, electric vehicle adoption is taking root.

But it’s also no secret that California suffers from the fact that competing agencies, from the CPUC to the CEC to the CALISO, oversee state energy policy.

The Advanced Energy Economy, a business group co-founded by former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, interviewed 30 clean tech CEOs in California as part of a new report on steps the state needs to take to integrate a host of clean energy initiatives.

“California is widely recognized as a global leader in encouraging advanced energy growth,” said Graham Richard, CEO of Advanced Energy Economy, in a statement “But the sheer number of policies, agencies and programs designed to support advanced energy development make it difficult for companies to navigate.”

One example: clean energy procurement issues are handled by the CPUC, but grid reliability and operations are handled by the CAISO. As more renewables come onto the grid, those efforts need to be better coordinated.

“The challenge we face is now is we are trying to make the leap to the energy system of the future with the regulatory system of the past 50 years,” said Arno Harris, the CEO of Recurrent Energy.

The report supports other efforts that are already underway, including Gov. Jerry Brown’s work to streamline CEQA, or the California Environmental Quality Act, so that it doesn’t take years for large solar power plants to get permitted.

Dana Hull Dana Hull (244 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.