CARB Wants To Take On Vast New Powers

FEB 3, 2011


On Wednesday UC Santa Cruz environmental studies professor Timothy P. Duane addressed an audience at the University of California Sacramento Center on the “Greening of the Grid.” His lecture also provided a revelation of sorts about Mary Nichols, recently re-appointed as head of the California Air Resources Board.

According to Duane, Nichols wants to turn CARB into an “energy agency.” Nichols was not in attendance and Duane provided no details of how she planned to transform CARB or what authority allowed the unelected regulator to make the change. Some CARB and California Energy Commission regulators were in the audience, however, and Duane was talking their language.

Environmental policy was a key “export” of California, according to the professor. The Golden State had lost the edge it had in the 80s but was now important in the new approach, centering on “climate change.” Professor Duane hailed AB32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, but did not cite any criticism of that legislation or climate change orthodoxy. Duane made it clear that the new energy approach depends heavily on regulation, particularly its punitive side.

“The stick still has value,” he said, referring to a $10 million dollar fine a California regulatory agency had imposed on a utility company.

Duane’s printed handout “Greening the Grid in California” (Published in Natural Resources & Environment, Volume 25, Number 2, Fall 2010 American Bar Association, 2010) notes that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and California Energy Commission (CEC) have “overlapping  complimentary jurisdiction over electricity regulation.” CARB, he said was “the new kid on the block” and CARB is the lead agency in the implementation of AB32.

The renewable generation industry, the paper explains, “collapsed in California (and throughout the United States) as utilities and regulators delegated resource planning to ‘the market’ in the Deregulation Era of the 1990s,” when “ideological embrace of deregulation by state lawmakers and regulators shifted policy with the intention of minimizing the direct financial costs of electricity.”

Duane hailed Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which his paper describes as “requiring utilities to purchase or generate a specified amount of total electricity needs through a qualifying renewable generation sources.” He acknowledges that RPS has its critics. “Because the RPS target is set by either the political process or regulators, some argue that it is not efficient.” He did not indicate the extent to which renewable sources are capable of meeting California’s energy needs.

Professor Duane acknowledged that renewable energy “must be located at the site of the renewable resource. The green power must then be sent to load centers via high-voltage transmission lines.” As he told the UC audience, this can easily interfere with “water, wilderness and wildlife.” His paper notes that fossil fuels, on the other hand, “can be transported relatively efficiently to more geographically desirable sites for power generation.”

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  1. David from Oceanside
    David from Oceanside 3 February, 2011, 08:01

    It is a shame that the professors and academics play so large a role in politics. They pay almost no personal price when wrong.

    “collapsed in California (and throughout the United States) as utilities and regulators delegated resource planning to ‘the market’ in the Deregulation Era of the 1990s,”

    How can a man so educated miss the key to the above pasted sentence. There is no better mechanism to bring the highest quality at the lowest price than an unfettered market. If Green energy failed in an open market there is a good cause.

    Reply this comment
  2. John Seiler
    John Seiler 3 February, 2011, 10:54

    California needs to go on a low-CARB diet.

    Reply this comment
  3. Tylerle13
    Tylerle13 3 February, 2011, 13:31

    A smart person can say such a stupid thing because, when it comes to this cause, they have clearly established that what they say does not have to be true, it just has to sound like it could be true so they can scare enough people into siding with them. All of the people they have held up as Green Gods have been discredited when their religious ramblings have been analyzed by honest scientists that dont have a financial or idealogical interest in the outcome. As soon as one of their Gods fall, they prop up some newer crazier replacement that can keep the gravy train running with lies and alarmist statements for a few more months. CARB is a prime example of fraud & dishonesty by Gang Green.

    Since Jerry & the rest of the gutless politicians sure as hell wont stand up & do the right thing & shut down CARB, it seems that the only thing that will diminish CARBs power is when they put too many people out of business & the voters put someone in office who isnt on their knees for Mary Nichols.

    No matter how many times they fail, they keep thinking that they can regulate an industry into prosperity. They steal Billions of dollars from the taxpayers and funnel it to their friends companies in a pathetic attempt to make a California manufacturing company competitive with a Chinese company, just because they are rooting for “Green” companies to be the savior of this disaster of a state. It is impossible for nuts like CARB to regulate a company into prosperity when the companies products are inferior to their competitors, yet costs 3 times more. Just look at SOLYNDRA, the savior of all and recipient of $1.5 BILLION, yet they are in a never ending downward spiral.

    The really sad/funny aspect of this situation is that it was these same Nanny State D-Bags who have over regulated California to the point that California Businesses cant compete with the rest of the world. Now they cant figure out why it costs $5(even with monster subsidies) to produce something in California that the Chinese can produce for $1. I cant think of a better fit for the saying “They made their bed, now they can sleep in it”.

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  4. Roy Bleckert
    Roy Bleckert 3 February, 2011, 17:56

    John I will raise you one. Ca needs a No-CARB diet LOL

    “According to Duane, Nichols wants to turn CARB into an “energy agency.”

    This idea needs to be stopped dead in it’s tracks !

    Reply this comment
  5. Vince Perez
    Vince Perez 6 February, 2011, 15:18

    In response to comments seemingly debasing ALL regulation: let’s not forget that bringing the grid into the awesome world of the “unfettered market” just about destroyed this state 10 years ago. In fact, I’d say we’ve never fully recovered from the debacle of the “gaming of the grid” by Enron as well as our own beloved utilities. That being said, I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments of those here regarding California being “regulated” right into the ground. Go figure.

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