Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Commission: CA renewable energy goals may be costly

solar plant

Photo credit: LADWP

Located about 65 miles north of L.A. near the community of Adelanto, Calif. The project produces 10 MW (AC) power, which is enough energy to meet the needs of 3,300 typical homes each year.

The Little Hoover Commission said California is trying to do too much, too fast, to go green.  California is committed to increase the use of alternative, renewable fuels,  reduce green house gas emissions and implement water quality rules. 

The bipartisan agency said just one of the those goals takes years of “careful planning” to implement.  

California is trying to do them all at once “without an overarching plan,” without an analysis of how much it will cost,  and without a central authority that prioritizes the work, according to the report. 

The Commission warns that in the rush to integrate renewable energy some of the investor-owned utilities purchased over-priced energy contracts. Those costs will get passed on to consumers.  

They also warn that any major events that upset state supplies—a prolonged heat wave, plant outages or wildfires  “could result in brownouts and blackouts in Southern California next year.”  The upshot: Californians could end up paying more for power that’s less reliable.  And that could cause a ratepayer revolt that would set state reforms back.

 To prevent that scenario, the Commission wants the governor to order state energy organizations to analyze how reforms will affect electricity rates and reliability.  The agency also wants the governor to develop a plan to prioritize and organize the implementation of energy reforms, and “modernize” how energy’s governed in California.


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