California shipping allowed without pipeline management challenge

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California shipping allowed without pipeline management challenge: report
  • California’s transmission permitting process is insufficient to efficiently review the number of new pipeline transmission projects in the state, according to a new report from the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and GridLab.
  • Like the rest of the country, California is seeing more investment in clean energy projects, thanks in part to the federal Inflation Reduction Act and the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, the report’s authors said. But the number of potential projects has been overwhelmed by the California Independent System Operator’s interconnection processes, they said.
  • “Without the necessary transmission, it would be a big failure of the clean energy transition,” said Ed Smeloff, a CEERT consultant. “We need to build 7,000 MW to 8,000 MW of clean energy to meet SB 100’s zero-carbon goal.” SB 100 requires that the state’s electricity sales be entirely supplied by renewable energy and zero-carbon resources by 2045.

Dive Insights:

On the one hand, the CEERT and Gridlab report found that the California Independent System Operator has improved its transmission planning processes with a new “zonal” method of coordinating transmission planning, interconnection queuing, and resource acquisition, which experts expect will help reduce interconnection demand. how many

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At the same time, “California’s transmission growth has not kept pace with reliable and clean energy needs over the past decade,” said the report’s authors.

The most immediate concern identified in the report is the California Public Utilities Commission’s permitting process, Smeloff said. The agency’s approval processes, outlined in its General Order 131-D, include a need analysis for the transmission project as well as an economic and environmental impact assessment. However, this need-determination process has made project approval times longer for years, according to the report.

“Part of the problem is that this process comes from a period of time when we don’t do a lot of transmission because the increase in load is relatively moderate or almost non-existent, so it is no longer in practice,” explained Smeloff.

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California lawmakers are advancing several pieces of legislation this year to reform the California Public Utilities Commission’s transmission permitting process and speed up the steps to start construction. This includes two bills—SB 420 and SB 619—that were vetoed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, who noted in a veto message that he will direct a separate infrastructure strike group to accelerate the development of electricity infrastructure. SB 420 would have raised the voltage threshold for transmission projects that require a CPUC permit, while SB 619 would have allowed project applicants to request an expedited environmental review by the California Energy Commission.

“The vetoes of SB 420 and SB 619 put the issue of transmission permitting reform directly before the CPUC,” the report said.

In addition to emphasizing the need to reform the CPUC shipping permit process, the report’s authors also urged the state legislature to take a more active role in passing permit reform. , including the consideration of a renewable energy transmission authority to take up these issues.

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The major challenge in implementing this and other recommendations in the report is to get the senior leadership of the governor’s office and CPUC to understand that it is urgently needed, said Smeloff.

CAISO has not had a chance to thoroughly review the report, spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said in an email. He points out, however, that the report cites the operator’s delivery plan for May 2023, as well as describing the purpose of the initiative to improve the interconnection process, which focuses on making broader changes in the procurement process. on the state of resources, plans for transmission, and interconnect projects.

The CPUC did not respond to a request for comment.