SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today issued the following statement after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved Southern California Edison’s request to construct Segments 4-11 of its Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project (TRTP), which will provide access for up to 4,500 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation:
“California leads the nation in developing renewable energy, and with the approval of this project our ability to harness the power of the wind and other renewable sources to deliver clean energy to Californians has been strengthened. The thousands of megawatts of renewable energy capacity this transmission line will add to our grid will help California meet its ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard, protect our environment, increase our energy security and further the growth of our green economy.”
The TRTP is an 11-segment project and today’s decision ensures the completion of segments 4-11. Segments 1-3 were approved in 2007 and are expected to deliver approximately 700 MW of renewable energy and be fully energized by the end of this year.
An environmental impact report (EIR) on the project was completed by the CPUC in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The CPUC evaluated the environmental impacts of the proposed project and 11 alternatives. The Final EIR identifies the proposed project approved today as the Environmentally Superior Alternative.
In September, the Governor signed an executive order directing the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations increasing California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 33 percent by 2020 – a goal that was first established by the Governor’s directive last year. In October, the Governor signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to expedite the siting of California renewable energy projects.
Under Governor Schwarzenegger’s leadership, California has consistently led the nation and the world in enacting some of the most ambitious policies to protect the environment and fight climate change, including:
•Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32): Through AB 32, California established a first-in-the-world economy-wide, comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The Act calls for a reduction of California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Governor has also called for an additional 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.
•Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS): In 2007, the Governor signed an executive order creating the LCFS, which will help to dramatically expand the market for alternative fuels in California by requiring fuel providers to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold in the state. LCFS requires a 10 percent reduction of the carbon intensity from transportation fuels by 2020, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 13 million metric tons a year, equivalent to taking three million cars off the road.
•Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): The Governor signed an executive order earlier this year to provide clear and permanent direction for the creation, delivery and servicing of California’s renewable energy projects, which will help avoid another energy crisis while increasing the state’s renewable energy use. The California Air Resources Board will adopt regulations to increase the state’s RPS to 33 percent by 2020.
•Alternative and Renewable Fuels Vehicle Technology Program: In 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 118 by former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez which established the Alternative and Renewable Fuels Vehicle Technology Program to fund the research and development of new technologies. The program will invest $176 million to make existing alternative and renewable fuels and vehicle technologies available in the marketplace.
•Tailpipe Emissions Standards: Due to Governor Schwarzenegger, California’s attempt to receive a federal waiver to reduce emissions from passenger vehicles has been granted. The Governor’s efforts produced a national standard for cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles that will improve our environment and protect our economy. Inspired by California, the federal government is now requiring that all new cars reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2016, making the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles 35.5 miles per gallon.
•Promoting Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel: In 2004, Governor Schwarzenegger launched an initiative to coordinate the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure to match the emerging California market for zero-emission hydrogen vehicles and buses. Since then, California has become home to the largest number of hydrogen stations in the world with a network of 16 stations in the greater Los Angeles area and another 10 throughout the rest of the state. Seven more stations are planned by 2010 for the Los Angeles region which will more than double the amount of hydrogen available to the public.
•Sales Tax Exemption for Zero Emission Vehicle Equipment: Last year, the Governor and Treasurer Bill Lockyer created a program to exempt manufacturing equipment for zero emission vehicle manufacturers from sales tax. This exemption is administered through the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.
•California Solar Initiative: In August 2006, the Governor signed his Million Solar Roofs Plan into law. Now known as the California Solar Initiative, it will provide 3,000 megawatts of additional clean energy and reduce the output of greenhouse gases by three million tons, equivalent to taking one million cars off the road. The $3.3 billion incentive plan for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems will lead to one million solar roofs in California by the year 2018.