An Overview of the California Energy Commission

Today, California is a world leader in electricity created by renewable energy resources and is at the forefront in energy efficiency.

The Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (the formal name for the Energy Commission) was established by the Legislature in 1974 to address the energy challenges facing the state. Created by the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Act (normally called the Warren-Alquist Act), the Energy Commission is the state's principal energy policy and planning organization. Since 1974, successive administrations with bipartisan legislative support have enacted more than 100 separate laws to assist the Commission in implementing state energy policy.

The Governor appoints the five members of the Commission to staggered five-year terms and selects a chair and vice chair from among the members every two years. The appointments require Senate approval. By law, one commission member must be selected from the public at large. The remaining commissioners represent the fields of engineering / physical science, economics, environmental protection, and law.

The Commission nominates and the Governor also appoints a Public Adviser, for a term of three years, who is responsible for ensuring that the public and other interested parties are adequately represented at all Commission proceedings. The Public Adviser's accessibility affords the residents of California a unique opportunity to be a part of energy decision-making which may affect their lives.

The Commission's Executive Office provides overall policy and management direction to the staff and management support to the Commissioners.

The Chief Counsel's Office houses the Commission's legal staff. Staff attorneys represent the Commission in administrative hearings before the California Public Utilities Commission and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, at state and federal court proceedings, and at internal proceedings such as power plant siting cases. Hearing advisers serve as administrative law judges before the Commission on power plant siting/licensing cases.

The Commission forecasts future energy trends through various reports. Publications are available through the Commission's Publications Unit and beginning in 1996, most all reports are available in electronic format (Acrobat PDF files) on the Commission's website.

Facts Sheets

Explore the Commission's illustrated fact sheets to learn more about the California Energy Commission and California's leading energy policies: