A Year Ago on Zero Resource – September 2010

– – – 

California’s Clean Energy Future, Part 1

3

On Tuesday, January 25, I was in the audience at the SPUR Urban Center in San Francisco as Panama Bartholomy, California Energy Commission (CEC), and Emma Wendt, PG&E, gave presentation about California’s clean energy future.

The post below consists of Part 1 of my record of the presentation – the first part of Panama Bartholomy’s presentation. All portions are included in chronological order.

An ellipsis (…) indicates that I was not able to capture the words or thoughts skipped. The presentation is transcribed as accurately as possible – punctuation choices are mine. I also added any photos or images.

– – –

The speakers were introduced by Raphael Sperry and Geoff Danker.

– – –

Panama Bartholomy

I’m honored to be here… Obviously, I’m a bureaucrat. All my life I’ve wanted to be a bureaucrat. It’s true… … So I have achieved my dreams – I work for the state of California… I am here to talk about what I hope are some of our shared goals… building a  future that’s healthy for our economy, our environment, and our communities… …

I was supposed to talk about, and will talk about, California’s Clean Energy Future…  big ambitious goals. A massive document describes the process of how we’re all going to reach these goals… and how the agencies are going to work on it. In brief, it outlines very ambitious energy goals. It calls for zero net energy buildings… ways to shave peak demand… want to build carbon capture and storage in California by 2020… also want 1 million electric vehicles in California by 2020. So these are the goals. So I’m going to talk about the programs and activities behind the goals to make them a reality…

… … …

I have to give some background, then talk about efficiency…  then major market barriers around energy efficiency and what’s stopping a strong retrofit market, then renewables. Finally, I’ll talk about what’s coming from the Brown administration… …

So some energy context… I’m only going to talk about electricity and natural gas… One of the jobs of the CEC is to measure energy demand and project demand into the future… [looking at a chart] Here, you can see impacts of downturns in the economy… We’re expecting that the economy will pick up later this year or early next, then we will see about 1.2% growth in demand a year. Much of that is from the building sector… We expect to see continued increases in demand, especially from the commercial and residential sectors.

So we have several options. Do nothing. Then we get demand exceeding supply. Or we can build power plants. Or we can find ways to reduce demand… Efficiency is by far our most cost-effective choice in terms of how to meet demand.

Going back to natural gas… California only produces 13% percent of our own natural gas – the rest comes from other areas. We are at the end of the line when it comes to natural gas delivery. We are starting to compete more and more with Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico… …

Overarching a lot of activity on energy efficiency, I have to talk about California’s new climate policy… … AB 32 calls for us to reduce our economy-wide emissions levels to 1990 levels by 2020. This is about a 25-30% reduction in GHG emissions… The big player is transportation. Also, we have to look at electricity generation. The 1/4 of our electricity that we import is equal in GHG emissions to the 3/4 that we produce in-state. The built environment is the second largest wedge when we add the bits together. The built environment dictates how we need to get around, so it has a big impact… We have some work to do…

(Image credit: CA Climate Change Portal)

– – –

Part 2 and Part 3 will be posted soon.

– – –

Prop. 26 and the Environment

2

The November 2 midterm elections are over and the returns are in.  And while Californians handily defeated Prop. 23, an attempt by non-California based oil companies to delay and effectively repeal California’s landmark climate legislation AB 32, another proposition with a group of oil, tobacco, alcohol and other business backers managed to fly under the radar.

Prop. 26 re-frames the practice of charging regulatory fees for certain harmful or polluting corporate and industrial activities as levying a “tax”, and will now require a 2/3 vote  for implementation of such “taxes” rather than the simple majority required to implement a fee.

Prop. 26 directly challenges the ability of the state legislature to hold polluters accountable and instead may create a climate of political gridlock as the high bar of a 2/3 majority can paralyze necessary actions toward the implementation of Prop. 23.

Prop. 26 is also a strong step away from the concept of “extended producer responsibility”  that has been gaining support across the country, and will likely result in a loss of revenue for the state.

– – –

See Anna’s  post on Prop. 23 and Prop. 26 funders.

See my  post on Extended Producer Responsibility.

– – –

33% of California Energy Renewable by 2020

2

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Last month the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced new standards to increase renewable energy sources into the California energy mix. CARB has unanimously passed a new standard for the state- to increase renewable source energy in California to 33% of energy usage by 2020.

CARB’s press release states that, “The standard will promote green jobs to construct and run renewable facilities in California, reduce hundreds of tons of harmful air pollution, insulate California’s economy from the shock of volatile natural gas prices and help establish the state as a global leader in the research, development and manufacturing of clean, renewable energy sources.”

The new standard is also a significant push toward the fulfillment of the state’s landmark climate bill, AB 32,  coming at a time when AB 32 is under threat via proposition 23 in the November elections.

The new standard is a product of collaboration between CARB, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California Energy Commission (CEC), and the California Independent System Operator (CA ISO).

– – –

Update on Spending on Prop 23

From the New York Times today:

At the start of the campaign for California’s Proposition 23, the ballot measure that would suspend the state’s global warming law, opponents darkly warned that the Texas oil companies backing the initiative would spend as much as $50 million to win the election.

But with three weeks until Election Day, it is the No on 23 coalition of environmentalists, investors and Silicon Valley technology companies that is raking in the cash, taking in nearly twice as much money as the Yes on 23 campaign.

As of Monday, the No on 23 forces had raised $16.3 million to the Yes campaign’s $8.9 million, according to California Secretary of State records. Over the past two weeks, nearly $7 million has flowed into No campaign coffers while contributions to the Yes effort had fallen off dramatically.

Read the entire story here.

– – –

Assorted Links

The fight over Proposition 23, the California ballot initiative that would suspend the state’s landmark global warming law, has spawned some unusual political alliances. Mainstream environmentalists, venture capitalists, labor unions, tech chieftains and even some Republicans have all made common cause to oppose the measure, which is backed by two Texas oil companies.

Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has issued a memorandum laying out the codes of conduct for scientific activities and the use of science in decision making.

At the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-West, energy bankers said that clean technology segment leaders should be able to IPO successfully and that energy efficiency is an attractive sector.  But they also predicted that oil companies will scale back their investments in wind energy and that the availability of capital will remain limited in the short term.

– – –

Assorted Links

Parts of California experience a record heat wave – Los Angeles had its highest recorded temperature of 113 deg F yesterday.

Schwarzenegger lashes out at the companies trying to get rid of California’s carbon regulation law,  AB 32.

Meg Whitman has now stated that she is against Prop 23 but would still suspend AB 32 for a year if elected.

– – –

The Koch Brothers and AB 32

2

I have previously posted about AB 32 and Prop 23.

– – –

Today, the New York Times published an editorial about the coalition of oil and gas companies and climate change skeptics that are trying to kill it through Prop 23.

…a well-financed coalition of right-wing ideologues, out-of-state oil and gas companies and climate-change skeptics is seeking to effectively kill that law with an initiative on the November state ballot. The money men include Charles and David Koch, the Kansas oil and gas billionaires who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement.

… …

The prospect that these rules could reduce gasoline consumption strikes terror into some energy companies. A large chunk of the $8.2 million raised in support of the ballot proposition has come from just two Texas-based oil and gas companies, Valero and Tesoro, which have extensive operations in California. The Koch brothers have contributed about $1 million, partly because they worry about damage to the bottom line at Koch Industries, and also because they believe that climate change is a left-wing hoax.

You can read the entire editorial on the New York Times website.

– – –

Assorted Links

Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and California are the greenest states, according to a NMI survey of more than 3,000 U.S. consumers in the 25 largest states.

Oakland is recognized as a bike-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.

Texas and three other states threaten to sue California over AB 32.

– – –

California Proposition 23

Proposition 23 is the result of an initiative launched by Texas oil giants Valero Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corporation to postpone enforcement  of AB 32. The ballot initiative would delay enforcement until unemployment in California stays under 5.5% for an entire year. California unemployment is currently at about 12%.

Image source: Google Public Data

– – –

How do Californians feel about Prop 23?

The public: A poll by the Public Policy Institute of America this month indicates that 67% of California residents support AB 32 (via LA Times).

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:  “This initiative sponsored by greedy Texas oil companies would cripple California’s fastest-growing economic sector, reverse our renewable energy policy and decimate our environmental progress for the benefit of these oil companies’ profit margins” (via LA Times).

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Meg Whitman: Whitman has not taken a formal stand on Prop 23. However, AB 32 authorizes a governor to delay some of the provisions for up to a year in the event of “threat of significant economic harm.” While campaigning for the Republican primary, Whitman stated that we would suspend AB 32 on her first day in office (via SF Chronicle).

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown: “Addressing  climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, something that California has been a leader on,” said Sterling Clifford, Brown’s campaign spokesman (via SF Chronicle).

– – –

The full text of Prop 23 is available here.

– – –

The Yes on Prop 23 campaign has filed suit against Attorney General Jerry Brown over the language that will go on the ballot to describe the proposition. The ballots of be printed in mid-August will say that the measure “Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.” More information in the LA Times.

– – –