For Immediate Release: April 1, 1997
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 - 654 - 4989



Commission Submits $540 Million
Renewable Energy Plan to Legislature



In a report due to the Legislature this week, the California Energy Commission outlined its recommendations on how $540 million in funding is to be allocated among the state's alternative energy firms.

The Policy Report on AB 1890 Renewables Funding directs the distribution of the money to producers of wind, solar, geotheral, biomass and other forms of renewable energy. The Energy Commission's objective, as mandated by the new electric deregulation law, is to help renewable energy producers compete in the free market.

Adopted by a unanimous vote on March 20, 1997, by the Energy Commission, the report resulted from a series of hearings and workshops beginning in November 1996. In those proceedings, stakeholders suggested a wide variety of uses for the funding to support renewables from 1998 to 2001.

With Commissioner Michal Moore presiding, the Commission's Renewables Program Committee, which directed the preparation of the mandated report, said the document represents "policy framework rather than the details necessary to implement policies" and is subject to changes reflecting "further Legislative guidance."

Moore said, "Renewable energy is an important part of California's energy mix. The funding ensures that energy resources beneficial from an environmental standpoint are afforded a competitive edge."

The $540 million funding was established by AB 1890 for the support of renewable electricity generation facilities. It is to be collected from existing investor-owned utility ratepayers from 1998 to 2002 to support and build a sustainable industry for existing, new and emerging renewable electricity generation technologies.

The legislation directs the California Public Utilities Commission to transfer the funds to the Energy Commission pending further administrative and expenditure criteria guidelines from the Legislature.

The report proposes the allocation of $243 million to existing renewable technologies. New technologies will receive $162 million, and emerging technologies $54 million. A consumer side account to build a customer-driven market for renewables will receive $81 million.

Existing technologies are subdivided into three tiers of accounts: biomass and solar thermal, $135 million; wind, $70.2 million; and geotheral, small hydro, digester gas, municipal solid waste, and land fill gas, $37.8 million.

Funding for consumers is divided into customer credit, $75.6 million, and consumer information and market building, $5.4 million.

The report said the customer account "will allow customers to receive credit from the fund through mechanisms such as a reduction in their electric bill as required by AB 1890." This would help reduce the cost that customers pay for renewable power in order to build customer demand for renewable energy.

The consumer information account will educate the public about renewable energy sources and allay concerns about purchasing power "from less established and familiar names."

Certification of suppliers and providers of renewable resources will be made through a self-certification process, using forms from the Commission. The report specifies what information will be requested from both suppliers -- those with generating facilities -- and providers -- those who sell directly to end-users. Providers include marketers or power brokers who will also register with the CPUC for direct access priority. The policy report endorses the use of a unique identification system for each certified renewable provider and supplier.

Existing renewable resource facilities are defined as those in operation (generating electricity for sale) in California prior to September 23, 1996, the date AB 1890 became law.

A "new renewable resource facility," is defined as a facility using a renewable resource technology that is located in California and became operational (generating electricity for sale) on or after September 23, 1996.

"Emerging renewable (resource) technology" is defined as a renewable resource technology located in California that uses photovoltaic technology, or is determined by the Energy Commmission "to be emerging from research and development and to have significant commercial potential."



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