By 2020, it is forecasted that California power plants generating more than 15,000 megawatts (MW) of energy from fossil fuels will be retired, replaced or divested. Loss of current power plants will increase the need to find replacements as well as place a cost burden on Californians. California is further limited on what types of power may be used to serve the current and increased demand for energy.
Although energy conservation, energy efficiency standards and increased energy sources have helped keep supply greater than demand, continued population and economic growth edges the state closer to an imbalance between supply and demand.
The production, transmission and cost of energy continue to be a central issue for California’s residents, business community and economy. The success of the state’s economy, and by extension the nation’s, relies on the ability of local, state and federal leaders to find common ground, determining the most efficient and equitable means of upgrading and expanding the energy system, while aligning it with economic growth and environmental initiatives. Reliability and affordability need to be at the forefront of California’s energy policies. There are multiple, and sometimes competing, regulations placed on the energy sector, affecting the price and availability of energy. Energy
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Recommend policies on issues concerning utilities and commerce, including electricity, telecommunications, commercial transactions, corporate governance, economic stimulus and development.
Stopped proposals in 2013 leading to fuel and gas price increases due to moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing (AB 1301, AB 1323) or an oil and gas severance tax discouraging production in the state (SB 241).
Stopped proposals in 2012 leading to fuel price increases, including two that increased energy costs by allocating funds from an illegal tax to various programs that are not needed to cost-effectively implement the market-based trading mechanism under AB 32, the state’s landmark climate change law.
Supported legislation in 2012 streamlining projects converting from solar thermal to photovoltaic technology (AB 1073).
Preventing electricity cost increases by stopping in 2011 an eight-year extension of a tax (public goods charge) on electricity ratepayers in the territories of the investor-owned utilities (AB 724, SBX 1 28).
Aggressive campaigning and advocacy by CalChamber-led coalitions dampened enthusiasm for tax increases and new taxes, including an energy tax that raises the price of gasoline and California-produced crude oil.
As California pursues its clean energy goals, the driving force for the state’s energy policies needs to be maintaining a reliable, efficient and affordable energy system. Although the economic downturn has reduced energy demand in the short-term, demand is expected to grow as the economy recovers. It is important that when making energy decisions, policymakers and stakeholders be flexible enough to respond to future fluctuations in the economy in a way that enables the state to continue to develop and adopt energy policies and technologies that are critical for long-term reliability and economic growth.
With the various new programs undergoing implementation, California will be required to have a far more diversified portfolio of energy sources. In order for the state to meet these requirements for energy efficiency, renewable standards and greenhouse gas reductions, projects must be streamlined through the approval process, which means that effective inter-agency collaboration and communication is necessary.
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