For Immediate Release: February 8, 2012
Media Contact: Adam Gottlieb - 916-654-4989
New Report Focuses on Reliability, Clean Energy Goals, and Economic Development
SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today approved the 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR), the state's main energy planning document. The report makes recommendations to ensure reliable energy supplies for the state's growing population and economy, achieve clean energy goals, and promote clean tech jobs and investments.
"California leads the nation in sustainable, environmentally-sensitive energy planning," said Energy Commission Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller. "The analyses in support of the IEPR are critical to managing the varied sources of electricity, natural gas, and transportation fuels that support the world's ninth largest economy."
This latest policy report emphasizes the need for reliable and safe energy infrastructure to meet future increases in energy demand. Meeting this demand will require improvements in permitting processes for new gas-fired and renewable power plants, making sure transmission and distribution lines are upgraded, modernized, or built to ensure customers have reliable electricity. The report also stresses the need to evaluate the reliability of the state's two nuclear plants in the wake of last year's catastrophic events in Fukushima, Japan. It will also require ensuring the safety and reliability of the state's network of natural gas pipelines and sufficient infrastructure to support crude oil imports and alternative transportation fuels and vehicles.
California also has some of the most ambitious goals for energy efficiency and clean energy in the nation. The state's long-standing policy of "energy efficiency first" will reduce the need for new power plants and transmission lines, as will development of distributed generation resources that are located close to where electricity is used. The 2011 IEPR discusses efforts to reduce energy use in existing buildings, for example, through the Energy Upgrade California program, and to make new buildings "zero net energy" using a combination of energy efficiency strategies and clean energy generated onsite.
To support California's goal of meeting 33 percent of electricity needs with renewable resources by 2020, the 2011 IEPR provides in-depth analyses that form the foundation for a "renewable strategic plan" that will be developed this year. California already gets nearly 16 percent of its electricity from renewable resources; the strategic plan will identify additional strategies to improve power plant and transmission permitting, reliably integrate renewable resources onto the state's electric grid, promote renewable investments, and support research to develop new technologies to meet the state's 2020 goal.
"California needs to develop alternatives to conventional transportation fuels to increase our energy assurance and security," said Weisenmiller. The IEPR reports that petroleum dependence in 2010 declined nearly 10 percent from 2006 levels, and the number of alternative vehicles such as hybrids, flexible fuel vehicles, and natural gas buses continued to increase. Meeting the demand for alternative and renewable fuels will require significant investments in fueling infrastructure and vehicles. This investment is already occurring through the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. As a result of this program, California has the largest network of electric vehicle charging systems and hydrogen fueling stations in the nation. The program has leveraged nearly $400 million in investments from private and public sources.
The 2011 IEPR also discusses the central role that clean energy investments will play in rebuilding the state's economy. California's clean energy goals are encouraging investment - in the first quarter of 2011 alone, the state received more than $600 million in venture capital investments in clean tech companies, which was more than 50 percent of all national investments in the clean tech industry during the same period.
"As a leader in energy innovation, we need to continue to promote new 'green' industries in California that will provide jobs and help the state's economy recover," said Weisenmiller.
Every two years, the California Energy Commission prepares an Integrated Energy Policy Report as directed by Senate Bill 1389 (Bowen, Chapter 568, Statutes of 2002). The report examines various aspects of energy supply, demand, distribution, and price and, based on these assessments, provides policy recommendations to ensure system reliability and safety, conserve resources, protect the environment, and contribute to a healthy economy.
The 2011 Integrated Energy Policy Report is available on the Energy Commission's website at: www.energy.ca.gov/2011_energypolicy/
The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.
Members of the Energy Commission are Chair Dr. Robert Weisenmiller, Karen Douglas; and Carla Peterman.