Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (RETI) 2.0

Update March 2017: The RETI 2.0 Project has concluded with the posting of the Final Plenary Report. Other final reports from the technical input groups, which informed the Final Plenary Report can be found on the Workshops, Notices and Documents page. The summaries, conclusions, and recommendations in the Final Plenary Report, and in previous RETI 2.0 and products, are intended to inform future state regulatory and policy proceedings and may be useful to renewable and transmission developers, environmental and community groups, and local, regional, and federal government entities. The California Public Utilities Commission and Energy Commission are now engaged in Integrated Resource Planning studies, and the California Independent System Operator is working on their Transmission Planning Process to identify transmission needs. The Energy Commission also initiated the 2017 Integrated Energy Policy Report proceeding. The RETI 2.0 findings will be considered in these planning activities.


California is currently on a solid trajectory to meet the state's 33 percent renewable energy mandate by 2020 and to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In April of 2015, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued Executive Order B-30-15 establishing a new statewide intermediate target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, in order to guide policy and maintain momentum to reduce GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. "With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it's one that must be reached—for this generation and generations to come," said Governor Brown.

An important part of meeting California's greenhouse gas reduction goals is moving toward a largely carbon-free electricity system, through energy efficiency, renewable electricity, and increased coordination of supply and demand across the electric grid. To meet these goals, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (Chapter 547, Statutes of 2015) was signed into law on October 7, 2015, which establishes targets to increase retail sales of qualified renewable electricity to at least 50 percent by 2030 and double the energy efficiency savings in electricity and natural gas end uses by 2030. Implementing this new mandate with other supply and demand-side program options will require new investments in the state's electric transmission system. This effort will require planning and coordination across the state and the West.

To facilitate electric transmission coordination and planning, the California Energy Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, and the California Independent System Operator initiated the Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative 2.0, also known as RETI 2.0. RETI 2.0 was an open, transparent, and science-based process that explored the abundant renewable generation resources in California and throughout the West, considered critical land use and environmental constraints, and identified potential transmission opportunities that could access and integrate renewable energy with the most environmental, economic, and community benefits.

California faced similar challenges in 2007, as the state implemented a renewable energy target of 20 percent while looking forward to a 33 percent goal. The 2008 Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, a non-regulatory statewide planning process, was established to identify the transmission projects needed to support the renewable generation required to meet the 33 percent target. The 2008 Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative was a collaborative, analytical effort that assessed the need for new transmission to connect renewable resource areas to California consumers.

In addition to the 2008 Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative, state, federal, and local agencies have collaborated on other landscape planning processes to identify the most appropriate locations for renewable energy development, including the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan and the San Joaquin Valley Solar Project. RETI 2.0 incorporated and built off of the science, data, and analyses from these efforts.

While RETI 2.0 was not a regulatory proceeding in itself, the insights, scenarios, and recommendations it developed will frame and inform future transmission planning proceedings with stakeholder-supported strategies to help reach the state's ambitious 2030 energy and environmental goals.


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