Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Providing global warming solutions for California and the West.
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In energy, policy matters. Public agencies at all levels make decisions affecting which energy resources and technologies receive public and private investment, how and where that energy is produced and distributed, what its public-health and air-quality impacts are, and what it all ends up costing us.
Even when there is clear policy direction from the top, as with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), focused implementation oversight is necessary to ensure that the many different parties with fragmented responsibilities act in concert to achieve the big-picture goal. Broadening public support for cleaner energy supplies and promoting multi-agency and stakeholder cooperation in policy-implementation efforts are fundamentals of our work.
That work now takes us before all of the traditional energy rule-making bodies, and to wherever the next troubleshooting target or opportunity appears. To find out more, follow the links to our program pages:
Paris Climate Conference
CEERT Executive Director V. John White joined Governor Brown, Senator De León, and other California officials in Paris at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. John met with senior staff of the Hewlett Foundation, Pisces Foundation, Climate Works, Google, Facebook, and the Georgetown Energy Law Center, and discussed short-lived climate pollutants, the Low Carbon Grid Study, and opportunities for additional regional modeling work.
Fix the Grid
Fix the Grid is a coalition of parties that recognize that the consolidation of multiple, disparate electricity markets into a well-organized Regional System Operator (RSO) is the fastest, cheapest, most effective means to enable a low-carbon electricity sector in the Western U.S. Learn more about efforts being made to educate the public.
CEERT’s Low-Carbon Smart Grid Program promotes the integration of large amounts of renewable energy on the grid by tracking and intervening in crucial proceedings at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and other agencies. We also seek to foster joint operating agreements between the CAISO and the state’s municipal and investor-owned utilities, and promote coordination and consolidation of the Balancing Areas in our state and region as a low-cost means of integrating renewable power. The issues are often highly technical, but have enormous impact on the price of renewable energy projects and their access to the transmission and distribution system. Learn more about how these ideas are taking shape in California.
Advocacy at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
Achieving California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goals will require California’s regulated public utilities to acquire 33% of their electricity supply from renewable resources by 2020. Our state’s energy regulatory agencies have the task of enforcing this mandate in a way that is most likely to succeed and most beneficial to ratepayers. With the continuing support of the Energy Foundation and our new-technology affiliates, CEERT has been a leading public-interest intervener in the California Public Utilities Commission RPS implementation proceedings, which are writing the rules for utilities’ future acquisition and system integration of clean and renewable power supplies. Learn more about what is being accomplished and at stake in the RPS regulatory implementation process.
Advocacy at the California Energy Commission (CEC)
CEERT is actively taking part in the CEC’s Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), which is focusing on transportation issues and on transmission, the impacts of land-use planning efforts, the use of environmental screens in energy procurement, and renewable energy penetration beyond 33%. The IEPR’s transportation issues range from changing trends in the makeup of California’s crude oil mix to development of an infrastructure plan for the state’s electric-vehicle charging infrastructure. Learn more about our advocacy at the California Energy Commission (CEC).
Large-Scale Energy Storage
Large-scale energy storage projects are fast-starting, quick-ramping, high-capacity resources that can help balance peak loads and enhance clean-energy resources’ ability to meet the needs of the electric grid. Strategic bulk-storage investments will allow us to park surplus renewable energy for times of low supply, and provide flexibility to the grid without burning fossil fuels. CEERT vigorously advocates for large-scale storage at the CAISO and in CPUC procurement rulemakings. Learn more about our Large-Scale Energy Storage program.
Advocacy at the California Air Resources Board (CARB)
California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) requires close collaboration by the Air Resources Board, Public Utilities Commission, Energy Commission, and Independent System Operator to plan and implement the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in California back to 1990 levels by 2020. To help guide this process, CEERT developed a forecast of what success in this effort might look like in our “2020 Vision” analysis. We also sponsored a symposium of some of the world’s leading climate scientists on how to improve on the climate targets in the Kyoto protocols. Learn more about Advocacy at the California Air Resources Board (CARB).
Renewables Transmission Planning and Development
Transmission is to renewable energy resources what the transcontinental railroad was to opening up the West. We need to connect California’s renewable resource-rich regions — wind from Tehachapi, geothermal and wind from the Imperial Valley, concentrated solar power from the Mojave Desert, and to a lesser extent, bio-energy from the Central Valley — to the large coastal urban load centers of the state where it is needed. Making this vital connection will require a series of massive, multi-billion dollar investments in new transmission infrastructure. In conjunction with the California Energy Commission, we have been promoting a unique stakeholder collaboration project to expedite planning and development of vital transmission projects. Learn more about what is being done to wire California’s renewable resources to the electricity market.
Southern California Activities
The best way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere is by leaving coal in the ground. California presently gets over 20% (and America over 50%) of its electricity supply from coal-fired generation plants. In a global climate context it is meaningless for a single state to pursue climate emission reduction goals which result in its pollution being passed on to its neighbors. That is why California recently adopted a ban on future long term electricity supply imported from conventional coal power plants in other states. Working with the Western Clean Energy Campaign and others, CEERT has been urging municipal utility leaders to say no to coal and yes to renewables for their constituents. Learn more about CEERT’s Southern California Activities.
Renewable Development Planning for the California Desert
Even though Californians use less electricity per capita than residents of any other state, our population and our commercial demand for electricity keep on growing. In order to meet this demand growth and achieve our climate-emission reduction targets, we need to develop all the wind, geothermal, solar PV, and biomass power we can, plus install all cost-effective energy efficiency improvements — and we must get busy and harvest the most abundant energy resource we have: California’s storied sunshine, or what we call “Big Solar.” California was the original incubator of large concentrated solar power technologies in the 1970s. Today those same technologies are employed in other nations, from Spain to South Korea, to commercially generate electricity. We possess the high-quality solar resources and the advanced technology required to take full advantage of this clean and virtually limitless energy resource. All that is lacking is the political and economic will to make it happen. Learn more about the efforts underway for Renewable Development Planning for the California Desert.
Distributed generation (DG) technologies like stationary fuel cells and solar photovoltaic systems don’t require large amounts of land or new transmission lines, and enjoy relatively fast licensing and construction times. “Infill” projects of 3 – 20 MW capacity have ample siting opportunities in our region, and spark much less environmentalist opposition than larger plants. CEERT is working on critical grid-capacity and interconnection issues that could limit how much DG can be installed, and on renewable DG incentives like an expanded feed-in tariff. Learn more about what is being accomplished with CEERT’s Distributed Generation Program.
Cleaner Transportation and Alternative Fuels
Gasoline and diesel transportation fuels represent a major share of America’s most pernicious air pollution, water-borne toxins, and climate emissions. While we presently have better technological choices for cleaner electricity production than for transportation fuels, there is still significant progress available from more fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrid technologies, and alternate fuels. There is also much future promise in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle technologies. CEERT has been working to clean up CO2 from cars and trucks, promote smarter transportation and development planning, and help develop an alternate fuel-distribution infrastructure as near-term means to reduce the impacts of fossil-fueled transportation. Learn more about the need for and efforts to promote cleaner transportation and the use of alternate fuels.