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California’s Energy Mess

The Press Enterprise — December 5, 2012

California should already know the dangers of pushing blindly ahead on poorly understood energy policies. The governor needs to order a comprehensive cost analysis of state renewable energy goals. And state officials need to combine the various, disjointed clean energy efforts into an organized — and realistic — approach. Otherwise the state risks policy failure and economic disaster.

A report this week from the watchdog Little Hoover Commission outlined the disturbing flaws in the state’s push for more green power. The report mainly focuses on the state requirement that one-third of California’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. California’s three big utility companies got about 20 percent of their power from alternative energy sources in 2011.

The commission notes, however, that legislators and state regulators have adopted a series of other initiatives that affect the state’s electricity grid — but with little consideration for how these policies interact, or which takes priority. And the report warns that the state has no good grasp of how much all these proposals will cost Californians.

The first step should be a comprehensive analysis of how the renewable energy goals might affect electricity prices. The lack of such information is a glaring omission, given the potentially huge consequences for residents and businesses. The state Public Utilities Commission, for example, says its latest projection shows utility rates increasing 2 to 3 percent a year over the next five years. But the agency’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates says its research indicates rates could rise by a cumulative 30 percent over the next eight years. Responsible policy making does not keep the public ill-informed about financial ramifications.

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One Comment on “California’s Energy Mess”

  1. ISM Group, Inc. December 6, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Reblogged this on ISM Group, Inc. and commented:
    What does California know about energy, anyway? Hire a professional consultant.

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