Calif urged to accept Wyo wind energy
Wheatland – “America’s need to develop renewable energy in a cost-effective, environmentally sensitive manner sees no political boundaries. It’s a goal that warrants developing resources where they’re the most plentiful and delivering that newfound energy to the areas of greatest need. Such an opportunity exists between Wyoming’s budding wind energy industry and California’s desire to utilize an admirable level of green energy. For these reasons we would like to see Wyoming wind energy that is physically delivered to the State of California qualified as an unrestricted renewable energy source by the California Public Utility Commission on May 20, 2010.”
That’s the opening paragraph of the letter sent by the Renewable Energy Alliance of Landowners (REAL) to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger regarding the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) March 10 ruling that the use of out-of-state renewable energy to fill that state’s 33 percent renewable energy portfolio standard will be limited.
The letter is in response to the CPUC’s approval of an order that says California will cap – or at least severely restrict – out-of-state renewable energy. In addition to Governor Schwarzenegger, it was also sent to the CPUC and a California lobbyist group known as the Utility Reform Network.
“California politicians are saying they need to develop their own renewable energy to create jobs and business in their own state, but there’s no way to develop enough renewable energy in California to meet their 33 percent standard,” says Stumbough.
Southeast Wyoming RC&D Coordinator Grant Stumbough says another reason the order was passed is that some California utilities were purchasing credits from Oregon and Washington, and using them toward satisfying the renewable portfolio standard. “Those are paper credits, and the CPUC has said that’s not quite fair,” he adds.
While TransCanada’s Zephyr Project has been billed as a direct line to the California market, Stumbough says the line is not satisfactory to California because it first makes a stop at the transmission hub south of Las Vegas, Nev.
With signup locations in Douglas, Glendo and Wheatland, Stumbough says the letter quickly gained over 100 signatures on May 5.
“The purpose of the letter is to send a message to California that we’re open for business, that landowners are supportive of wind energy, that we have some of the best wind in the world and that Wyoming can provide some of the cheapest and most reliable renewable energy on the American continent,” says Stumbough.
“The letter demonstrates that we have over 200 landowners who are very proactive and in favor of wind energy development, and that California needs to look at us, because we can provide renewable energy to them,” continues Stumbough.
The letter explains, “REAL is comprised of approximately 300 landowners who own a combined 800,000 acres with over 7,000 megawatts of wind energy production potential. Our members have either leased or are interested in leasing their wind development rights with the goal of helping meet America’s energy needs.”
On May 20 the CPUC will meet to either clarify the order and allow out-of-state renewables to come to California because they can’t produce enough themselves, or the Commission may decide to continue with their previous decision.
“Hopefully the letter will ‘grease the skids’ and convince California to look at Wyoming for renewable energy,” says Stumbough. “The main purpose is to send the message to California that we have some of the best world-class wind, that we can provide them with a cheap, reliable wind energy resource and they should reconsider looking at Wyoming as a major source of renewable energy. It says we as landowners are willing and able to provide renewable energy, and that we want to.”
The letter continues, “We’d like to help California reach its renewable energy goals by physically delivering energy over inter-state transmission from our ranches to your state’s residents. You can think of it as a long extension cord connecting your state’s consumers with Wyoming’s outstanding wind energy resources. The power we’ll produce isn’t just renewable energy, but green energy developed in one of the nation’s best locations in partnership with Wyoming ranchers.”
“Hopefully the letter will help them make a good decision when May 20 comes around,” says Stumbough.
If the Commission doesn’t decide in favor of out-of-state renewable energy supplies, Stumbough says the ruling is only in effect for a year. However, he says it could have long-term impacts.
“As California’s discussions surrounding renewable energy progress toward a decision on Order 10-01-021 language on May 20, 2010, we would like your help in reaching our mutual goals,” write the landowners. “We can achieve this by clarifying that renewable energy produced in Wyoming and delivered to California’s consumers qualifies as an unrestricted renewable energy source. This will allow California to meet its renewable energy goals in a faster and more cost-effective manner, a win-win-win for utilities, consumers and the environment.”
“We want to get it clarified and overturned, so we can continue to work on transmission projects and wind farms in southeast Wyoming,” says Stumbough.
Christy Hemken is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.