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.

Recent Developments:

On May 4, the CEC held a Joint Agency Workshop on Summer 2021 Reliability.  Representatives from California’s energy agencies presented on readiness efforts underway to prepare for the summer.  The work­shop reviewed lessons learned from the contingency events of summer 2020 and facilitated discus­sions with other agencies, utility representatives, and stakeholders to support increased grid reliability.

CEERT submitted written comments on the workshop on May 18, supporting additional clean energy pro­­curement and encouraging reduced dependence on gas and diesel generation for reliability.  We en­cour­­aged recalibration of the state’s modeling to better represent uncertainty and climate change-induced extreme weather events, and we advocated for changes to the state’s resource adequacy paradigm to more accurately value the benefits of hybrid solar + storage resources, in addition to changes in demand re­sponse metrics and integration.

On May 20, the CEC held a Commissioner Workshop on Natural Gas Infrastructure that provided an over­­­view of the CEC’s research and development efforts on hydraulic modeling to support gas system planning.  CEERT’s Executive Director V. John White participated in public comment during the web­i­nar, and CEERT submitted written comments on June 3.  We recommended that the CEC maintain a dynamic demand forecast to reflect the ongoing evolution of the gas system and account for building decarbonization and electric load increases from transportation electrification.  Our written com­ments highlighted the volatility of natural gas prices and its effects on ratepayer bills, and recom­mended a focused analysis on Aliso Canyon and Playa del Rey storage fields to help mobilize a plan for orderly demand reduction and phase-out of those facilities.  We encouraged an orderly, equitable transi­tion away from fossil fuel generation and recommended the CEC study the potential for an electrolytic supply of hydrogen for application in the power sector and oil refineries in the Los Angeles Basin.

On July 8 and 9, the CEC held a Joint Agency Workshop on Summer 2021 Electric and Natural Gas Reli­a­bility, divided into four sessions: 1) Hydro Resources and Drought; 2) Imports, Demand Response, and Multiyear Outlook; 3) Gas Reliability Issues and Polar Vortex Impacts & Implications; and 4) Aliso Can­yon Reliability Impacts.  V. John White participated in public comment at the workshop.

On June 2, the CEC held a Joint Agency Workshop on Next Steps to Plan for SB 100 Resource Build.  The workshop included an overview of projected resource build and transmission planning needed to meet the goals of SB 100, and next steps to plan for such an unprecedented buildout.  V. John White took par­t in public comment during the webinar.  CEERT submitted written comments on June 22, en­cour­ag­ing an ongoing joint agency process to ensure success in meeting the SB 100 goals, and to conduct to a more frequent SB 100 analysis.  We also advocated for a focus on resource deliverability, updated trans­mission planning, and more local community outreach on renewable energy development to facilitate progress on California’s clean-energy and greenhouse-gas (GHG) reduction goals.

On July 22, the CEC held a follow-up Joint Agency Workshop on Transmission Buildout and its effect on the SB 100 goals.  V. John White and CEERT Technical Director Jim Caldwell presented on the potential for Backbone Transmission for Central Coast Offshore Wind and related financing mechanisms.