Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies
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California’s Path to Decarbonization
TRANSMISSION PLANNING, PERMITTING, AND TIMELY CONSTRUCTION
GridLAB & CEERT
Earlier this year, the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies (CEERT) released a report, “Transmission in California”, on the need to build new high voltage transmission projects and upgrade existing transmission lines and substations in order to make substantial progress in the near and medium term in decarbonizing California’s electric system and the economy.
This report noted three important trends that have increased opportunities to accelerate decarbonization of California’s grid and economy—first, the rapid decline in costs of clean energy technologies; second, the improved recognition of suitable geographical locations where clean energy technologies can be sited; and third, the increase in electric load expected from the electrification of transportation, heating, and other end uses.
The enactment of the Inflation Reduction Act by Congress with sustained tax incentives for clean energy technologies has resulted in a surge of interest among investors and renewable energy project developers about opportunities in California. This interest can be observed by the flood of interconnection applications that have been submitted in the CAISO’s Cluster 14 and Cluster 15 application periods.
The Cluster 15 window, which closed on April 16, 2023, resulted in 546 new interconnection applications. This quantity exceeded the so-called Supercluster 14, which had 373 applications (a 46% increase). There are currently over 530 GW of interconnection applications in the CAISO queue; an order of magnitude more than is required to meet California’s needs.
Through coordinated efforts, California’s energy policymakers have created the conditions that encourage a high-level of interest in building and operating clean energy resources that will help the State meet its greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. However, California will need to continue to make sustained efforts to ensure that sufficient transmission capacity is permitted and built in a timely manner to leverage this competitive market, and that feasible alternatives also be considered so that the failure to build one project does not result in a failure to achieve the desired capability expansion in a specific planning horizon. Delays in upgrading the transmission system will create irreversible lost opportunities for clean energy development as the need for decarbonization becomes ever more urgent.
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March 2, 2007 Utility Long Term Procurement Prepared CPUC Testimony - (pdf)
February 11, 2007 Energy Choices:Non-fossil vs. FossilThe California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - (pdf)
January 24, 2007 The Tehachapi Wind Energy Project and the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 - (pdf)
October 18, 2006 Bottom of the Barrel: The Hidden Costs of Petroleum Use in California - (pdf)
May 31, 2006 U.S. Natural Gas—The Aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - (pdf)
April 28, 2006 Economic, Energy, and Environmental Benefits of Concentrating Solar Power in California - (pdf)
April 19, 2006 Electric Power Transmission Facilities in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area Second Report of the Tehachapi Collaborative Study Group to the CPUC - Part One - (pdf)
April 19, 2006 Electric Power Transmission Facilities in the Tehachapi Wind Resource Area Second Report of the Tehachapi Collaborative Study Group to the CPUC - Part Two - (pdf)
November 23, 2005 Clearing California's Coal Shadow from the American West - (pdf)