Last Thursday evening, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) unanimously adopted its Renewable Energy Standard (RES), mandating that California’s electric utilities—both public and investor-owned—procure 33% of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020. The RES was adopted pursuant to the authority granted the ARB in AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which vested the ARB with the authority to promulgate regulations to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions. The RES requires utilities to submit plans by July 2012 on how they will comply with the new regulations. The regulation includes several multi-year compliance intervals—from 2012 to 2014 the RES is 20%, from 2015 through 2017 it is 24%, from 2018 to 2019 it is 28%, and from 2020 forward the RES remains at 33%. The RES is met through the retirement of Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS) certificates; unlike the current 20% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that applies to investor-owned utilities, there is no requirement that any energy be delivered to California. WREGIS certificates may be retained or traded for up to three years, utilities may also bank those certificates for RES compliance indefinitely. The RES also provides that ARB will conduct comprehensive reviews of the program by December 31, 2013, 2016, and 2018, and that those reviews may trigger modifications to the RES.Continue Reading Air Resources Board Adopts 33% Renewable Energy Standard; Four California Energy Agencies Vow to Cooperate on Implementation
The California Air Resources Board may soon get its wish. Back in 2005, ARB first requested a waiver from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to allow California to regulate motor vehicle greenhouse gas emissions. EPA denied the waiver two years later, after California threatened to sue EPA to force the agency to take action on the request. The very day after President Obama’s inauguration into office, ARB filed with EPA a request for reconsideration of its waiver request. Several days later, President Obama himself signed a Presidential Memorandum directing EPA to assess whether denial of the waiver was appropriate in light of the Clean Air Act. Last Friday, Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, issued a Notice for Public Hearing and Comment on California’s request for consideration of the previous waiver denial, which officially initiates reconsideration by EPA. Discussion at the public hearing on March 5, 2009 may get interesting, as the Notice’s ‘supplementary information’ included a brief discussion on how the waiver denial had "significantly departed from EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the Clean Air Act’s waiver provisions and from the Agency’s history, after appropriate review, of granting waivers to California for its new motor vehicle emission program." Stay tuned.Continue Reading Will California be Able to Regulate GHG Tailpipe Emissions?