Smart Grid and renewable energy mean new infrastructure

As a follow up to the issue of infrastructure proliferation I would like to include the following excert from an article in Power Magazine:

“In June, California issued yet another report on renewable energy. This one, a joint effort of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), analyzes implementation issues related to increasing the state’s renewables portfolio standard (RPS) to 33% by 2020. The report is the latest in an increasingly growing number of assessments, policy pronouncements, and administrative decisions examining renewable energy and climate change issues.

This most recent CPUC/CEC report provides some updated numbers quantifying the task at hand, but it doesn’t break any new ground. It comes as no surprise that statewide electricity expenditures will be significantly higher under a 33% RPS than under an “all-gas” scenario in which California stops investing in renewable energy.


The real surprise is how little has changed since California began its latest push to increase its use of renewable energy. Consistent with prior assessments, this latest report identifies existing infrastructure planning and permitting processes as the key barrier to attaining RPS targets. For years, market participants and policy makers have recognized this imperative to fundamentally change and streamline the permitting process for infrastructure projects, which begs the question — Is California moving any closer to meeting renewable energy and climate change goals?


Transmission, Transmission, Transmission


Transmission persists as the largest obstacle to bringing renewable resources online. Large-scale renewable generation projects necessary to meet RPS targets tend to be located far from load centers and existing transmission lines. Without assurances that transmission will be in place to deliver their power to the grid, renewable developers cannot offer purchasing utilities a viable product and thus cannot obtain financing or otherwise move forward with projects.”