Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
Providing global warming solutions for California and the West.
December 10, 2023, 6:52 pm
In recent years CEERT has:
- Won support from decision-makers and the public for progressively stronger, legally binding California clean-energy and climate goals, which currently require the state to generate 100% clean electricity and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.
- Saw our years of vigorous but frustrating advocacy finally bear fruit when the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered an unprecedented 11,500-megawatt (MW) procurement of clean-energy resources, equivalent to approximately 25% of the electric grid’s peak summer load.
- Successfully urged the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to include in its Transmission Planning Process a major increase in spending from past years to build 23 transmission projects that will connect new, cleanly generated energy to the grid for the CPUC’s 11,500 MW procurement, the electrification of transportation and buildings, and the replacement of outmoded gas-fired plants.
- Helped carry out a Knowledge Transfer Plan to advance the viability of extracting lithium, an essential element for vehicle and storage batteries, from brine that geothermal energy plants pump from deep in the earth.
- Collaborated with our allies and CARB staff on California’s world-leading Advanced Clean Trucks Regulation, and on the Advanced Clean Cars Regulation II, which will lower air pollution emissions from conventional vehicles and help reach California’s goal of all new cars sold in the state being zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
- Assisted Los Angeles Department of Water and Power staff in reordering priorities and assessing near-term actions required to carry out a transition to clean energy much more quickly than had previously been planned, after LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that no new investment in gas-fired power would be made in the LA Basin.
- Completed an analysis of the generation and emissions profiles of California’s gas-fired power plants—especially those in disadvantaged communities—to identify which are the most-polluting and the least-needed, and which clean-energy resources can be cost-effectively substituted for each plant’s output.
- Did consulting work for the City of Oxnard and environmental-justice groups that resulted in the California Energy Commission rejecting a proposed gas-fired plant in favor of a mix of low-carbon resources to meet the area’s Local Capacity Requirements (LCR). As a direct outcome of this verdict, the CPUC approved three Requests for Proposals to procure carbon-free resources for LCR needs and allow the retirement of six gas plants that previously supplied LCR in four regions of the state.
- Sponsored and staffed the California 2030 Low-Carbon Grid Study, which affirmed that the state could cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from its electricity sector in half by 2030 with minimal rate impact and no compromise of grid reliability.
- Produced an analysis by CEERT Senior Technical Consultant Jim Caldwell and Bill Marcus of MCPM Economics that persuaded PG&E that relicensing its Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant would be less economical for ratepayers than replacing the plant with a portfolio of clean-energy resources.
- Coordinated the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, which used a combined economic and environmental assessment to identify prime renewable energy zones in California and the West.
- Secured approval of new transmission lines from the Tehachapi and Imperial Valley regions to bring new wind, solar, and geothermal power to coastal load centers.
- Helped develop guidelines by the California Energy Commission and the Department of Fish and Game that will significantly reduce bird deaths and injuries from new wind turbines, thereby mitigating a central obstacle to accelerated wind power development.
- Helped win Public Utilities Commission approval of the California Solar Initiative, a 10-year, $2.9 billion program that brought down solar electricity costs for consumers and stimulated 3,000 megawatts of new solar capacity on the state’s rooftops by 2017.
- With the Environmental Defense Fund, published Clearing California’s Coal Shadow from the American West, which helped derail more than 20 coal-burning projects in the Western states.
- Helped persuade then-mayor of Los Angeles James Hahn to withdraw from the planned expansion of the coal-fired Intermountain Power Plant 3 project in Utah and commit LA to increased reliance on renewable energy.
- Helped the California Air Resources Board (CARB) develop and adopt its Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), the first regulation of its kind in the world.
- Put forward strong advocacy in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a blueprint for how much Southern California land will be available for solar and wind projects. CEERT coauthored a solar development plan that called for the DRECP to include 260,000 acres for solar thermal projects in the West Mojave, which has the highest insolation in the U.S.
- Played a critical role in the negotiations that led to the filing of unprecedented joint environmental and solar industry comments on the Bureau of Land Management’s Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.
- Played a lead role in helping CARB develop the world’s first strategic plan for reducing methane and other potent, short-lived climate pollutants.
- Launched a program to support technologies that capture methane from dairies, feedlots, landfills, food processors, wastewater treatment plants, and oil and gas production operations, and use it to generate clean power through fuel cells, micro-turbines, and reciprocating engines.
- Served as technical lead for state and national NGOs on criteria emissions standards for CARB’s revised LEV III regulations, which set performance standards for typical passenger vehicles sold in California.
- Challenged the California Independent System Operator’s needs assessments for local reliability requirements, and its consideration of only gas-fired power for meeting those needs. Our advocacy helped persuade the CPUC Energy Division to explore the use of preferred alternative resources (i.e., efficiency and renewables) for this purpose.