California Energy Commission Sets Greenhouse Gas Standards for Municipal Utilities

May 29, 2007

The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved regulations last week that limit the state's publicly owned utilities from purchasing electricity from electric power plants that exceed the state’s greenhouse-gas emissions standard. The CEC set the emissions standard at 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt-hour of generation, which is about the emissions level of a combined-cycle natural gas power plant.

That new standard for municipal and other publicly owned utilities is the same as the one set earlier in the year by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for regulated utilities in California. The CEC and CPUC had developed the standard together, as required by the California Legislature late last year. They developed the standard by evaluating CO2) emissions of existing combined-cycle natural gas baseload power plants across the West.

The new regulations extend the authority of the CEC to cover new long-term contracts between municipal utilities and out-of-state coal-fired power generators in the Southwest. California imports a substantial amount of electricity from neighboring states.

For more information about the new CEC regulations, see the May 23 CEC press release.

The California Legislature set the stage for these regulations last year when it established mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions — 25 percent by 2020. For background, see an October 2006 news story published by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

To read more about renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in California, see: