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 the discussion on transmission issues both internally and externally. We have partnered with Ric O’Connell at GridLab and consultant Ed Smeloff to strategize how best to approach the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO’s) 20-Year Outlook and other suggested new projects, upgrades, and interconnections. We also convene large biweekly Transmission Working Group calls with clean-energy devel¬opers, state and local agencies, and NGOs.

CEERT is in contact with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to plan for better coordination with CAISO and the possibility of joint projects between LADWP, CAISO and Southern California Edison (SCE), such as the proposed undersea cable from Diablo Canyon to the LA Basin. We are also looking at potential federal agency funding for transmission projects included in the federal Infrastructure Bill, and Department of Energy loan guarantees for new transmission.

We are working on the beginning stages of a Transmission Report outlining the current issues the state is facing with slow transmission buildout and the backlog in approving new transmission projects at the CPUC, as well as ways to streamline the process to get several projects started in the near-term. We continue to put pressure on the CPUC for reform of the transmission siting and permitting process that has continually failed California’s ratepayers and energy system.

Working with Ed Smeloff and GridLab, CEERT has prepared comments for the CAISO’s new Transmission Planning Forum and workshops on the development of the 2022-23 Transmission Plan that CAISO will adopt in May.