New Performance Standard to Regulate Power Plants on West Coast

The California Energy Commission approved regulations late last month that limit the purchase of electricity from power plants that fail to meet strict greenhouse gas emissions standards.

New regulations, as part of SB 1368 (Perata), prohibit the state’s publicly owned utilities from entering into long-term financial commitments with plants that exceed 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per megawatt hour.

“Working with the Legislature, the Governor has demonstrated a clear vision with this first-in-the-nation legislation to reduce emissions,” said Energy Commission Chairman Jackalyne Pfannenstiel. “His bold leadership is helping to reduce California’s carbon footprint by ensuring a clean supply of electricity,” continued Pfannenstiel.

The implementation of SB 1368 is part of the Energy Commission’s further implementation of AB 32 (Nunez), a landmark bill signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that calls for California to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases by 25 percent by 2020.

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SB 1368 directed the Energy Commission, in collaboration with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Air Resources Board, to establish a greenhouse gas emission performance standard for power plants. This standard was reached by evaluating existing combined-cycle natural gas baseload power plants across the west and is the same CO2 measurement approved by the CPUC.

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