Sacramento, CA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- January 8, 2008 – The California Energy Commission (CEC) is required to conduct assessments and forecasts of all aspects of energy industry supply, production, transportation, delivery and distribution, demand, and prices, and to use these assessments and forecasts to develop energy policies that conserve resources, protect the environment, ensure energy reliability, enhance the state's economy, and protect public health and safety. To achieve this the CEC adopts an Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) every two years, and an update every other year.

The 2007 Integrated Energy Policy Report was adopted by the Energy Commission on December 5, 2007. The Commission held nearly 50 public workshops and hearings, published 70 supporting reports, scores of presentations, and received hundreds of public comments.

The report describes how California's economy is dependent on reliable and affordable supplies of energy. The challenge, as in the rest of the developed world, is maintaining growth while decreasing the state’s contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions.

The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 stipulates that the state must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. As the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the United States, and about the twelfth largest in the world, California's efforts to reduce its emissions will lead the way for other governments, in addition to easing the severity of environmental and economic impacts experienced this century.

The Act marked a significant change in California's energy policies. Before its passage, energy policymakers focused on stabilizing and/or minimizing energy costs, ensuring supply, limiting dependence on imports and fossil fuels, protecting the environment, and benefiting the state's economy. Today California is obligated to meet its previous energy goals, but it must do so while reducing the volume of CO2 emissions.

Slowing global warming requires meeting energy needs using zero-or low-carbon energy sources. With 37 million people living in California, and a projected increase in the population of 7 million by 2020, the state must ensure that energy supplies keep pace with the growth while simultaneously reducing its greenhouse gas footprint.

Electricity accounts for 28 percent of the state's CO2 emissions and demand for electricity is forecast to grow at a steady pace. Projected effects of building and appliance standards and energy efficiency programs are, however, likely to mitigate some of this electricity growth. California uses less electricity per person than any other state in the nation. While per capita electricity consumption in the United States increased by nearly 50 percent over the past 30 years, California's per capita electricity use has remained almost flat, due in large part to cost-effective building and appliance efficiency standards and other energy efficiency programs. The report suggests that energy efficiency will continue to be the keystone of California’s strategy. The Energy Commission strongly supports capturing all cost-effective efficiency saving potential and recommends, inter alia, the enlistment of publicly owned utilities in a collaborative relationship to further their efforts in aggressively ramping up energy efficiency programs.

The Commission also supports the development of a modern electric distribution system to incorporate new resources and recommends that the state:

  • Integrate distribution planning with other resource procurement processes to support the use of new low-carbon resources and applications - renewables, demand response, efficient combined heat and power, distributed generation, energy storage, advanced metering infrastructure, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • Fund research to develop and demonstrate technologies that will accelerate the transformation of the distribution grid into an intelligent and sustainable network.
  • Develop new rate designs that will encourage consumers and utilities to invest in promising technologies.
  • Provide financial incentives for utilities to meet goals related to performance, achievement of designated goals, service reliability, and customer assistance to achieve greater efficiency of electricity use.
  • Allow utilities to recover the remaining book-value costs of equipment rendered obsolete by the deployment of a qualified smart grid system.