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For Immediate Release: September
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler - 916-654-4989

Consortium to Spearhead Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative


Sacramento - Imagine solar mirrors shimmering in the sun and wind turbines harnessing the wind by generating thousands of megawatts of clean, green power from remote California deserts and hillsides.

Such a vision has long enticed the state's energy planners, but has given them headaches as well. Although California is blessed with some of the country's best geothermal, wind and solar resources, it faces a barrier - some of its renewable energy-rich areas are far from the electric transmission grid.

To solve this challenge, California formed a public-private partnership called the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) to consider the feasibility of building new transmission lines to access renewable generation. The goal is to bring green electricity to the grid as it is generated from isolated areas of the state or possibly adjoining states.

RETI is a means to rapidly develop green energy to meet the state's mandate of producing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and goal of 33 percent by 2020. The California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, the California Independent System Operator (California ISO) and representatives of publicly owned utilities, including Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), and the Northern California Power Authority (NCPA) are spearheading the initiative.

RETI will serve to identify major renewable zones to be developed throughout the state. As envisioned, the consortium also plans to rank all renewable rich resource areas in and around the state to establish an order in which transmission lines to these areas should be developed. Adding new renewable energy resources will ensure that California continues to have adequate supplies of electricity to meet the state's growing population and electricity demand.

Transmission lines for electricity from renewable sources becomes critical as predominantly out-of-state coal-fired power plants, which produce approximately 17 percent of California's electricity, begin to provide a smaller percentage of the state's electricity as mandated by the Electricity Emissions of Greenhouse Gases (SB 1368, Perata) to reduce greenhouse gases contributing to global warming.

On September 20, the group's first public forum will meet to bring the sponsors and stakeholders together to discus the initiative and the process.

To sign up for the list server or to find out more information about California's Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative visit: www.energy.ca.gov/reti/.

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QUOTES:

"Rapid development of renewable resource areas throughout California is necessary to meet this renewable energy goal," said Energy Commissioner Jeffrey Byron. "RETI should result in transmission solutions that everyone can agree on to bring renewable energy resources to the grid."

"We've made tremendous progress developing the transmission plan to bring electricity from the wind-rich Tehachapi Mountain area to Southern California customers," explains CPUC Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich. "Our goal with RETI is to identify the next Tehachapi."

President and CEO Yakout Mansour of the California ISO said the RETI effort complements his agency's current efforts to organize a statewide sub-regional planning transmission group. "We are especially encouraged by the interest municipal utilities have expressed in being part of RETI."

Jim Shetler of SMUD said the initiative "will help the municipal utilities gain better access to renewable resources in order to meet both aggressive renewable energy targets and eventual greenhouse gas reduction goals."

Bill Carnahan of the SPCCA adds: "The municipal utilities look forward to adding the output of the RETI effort to our long-term transmission planning process."

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