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, and solar power from the Mojave Desert and 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, multibillion-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.

Recent Developments:

CEERT has continued to convene biweekly meetings on transmission with GridLab and Dan Jacobson, and separate biweekly meetings with CEERT renewable affiliates and allied renewable trade groups, to coordinate filings and participation in workshops at the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) and the SB 100 Interagency Working Group at the California Energy Commission (CEC). These calls have been organized and staffed by Julia Prochnik and Ric O’Connell of GridLab.

Our efforts have focused over the past several months on the backlog of upgrades and interconnections by the investor-owned utilities, as well as CPUC delays in approving transmission projects already proposed by CAISO. In addition, we have been working on ways to improve and accelerate the transmission planning process (TPP) to ensure approval of long lead-time projects needed to meet 100% clean energy targets, possibly by revising the current memorandum of understanding (MOU) between CAISO and CPUC to ensure greater transparency and public input on assumptions and portfolios used in the TPP.