For immediate release: March 16, 2000
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

Steve Larson Appointed California
Energy Commission Executive Director

Sacramento - Steve Larson today was appointed Executive Director of the California Energy Commission.

Mr. Larson served as the Staff Director for the California Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee under the direction of the Chair, Senator Steve Peace. Prior to this position, Mr. Larson served in a number of energy-related positions including Chief Consultant to the Senate Energy Committee. He worked in the legislative energy policy area when the Energy Commission was formed in the early '70s and served at the Commission as Deputy Director of Governmental Affairs during the early years of the Commission.

"Energy issues have been critical for California's economic and environmental well-being throughout my career," the new Executive Director said. "I feel as strongly today about the importance of balancing energy, environmental and economic needs as I did when the Energy Commission was formed twenty-five years ago."

"During the last decade the Commission has been challenged, particularly with the implementation of electricity restructuring. The decisions by the Commissioners, in particular, and staff, in general, have been profound," Mr. Larson said. "Besides the Commissioners, I particularly want to note the good work of the Acting Executive Director Kent Smith who lead the staff through this very challenging time."

The Energy Commission is the State's principal energy policy and planning agency. The Commission responsibilities include: licensing power plants 50 megawatts or larger; advancing research and development in energy efficiency and transportation fuels and their infrastructures; analyzing and forecasting electricity, natural gas and petroleum energy supplies; and monitoring and contingency planning for energy emergencies. As a result of the 1998 electricity industry deregulation, the Energy Commission is charged with implementing a $240 million research and development program that provided public benefits and a $540 million program to advance renewable energy in the State.

"The Commission's national and international reputation and accomplishments clearly could not be achieved without good leadership and a talented professional staff," said Mr. Larson.

Prior to his budget experience, Mr. Larson served as Executive Director for the California Parks and Recreation Society and he was the Executive Secretary for the Assembly Science and Technology Advisory Council. He served for two years in the Peace Corps after receiving a Masters Degree in History at San Jose State University.

The appointment is effective April 15, 2000.

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