California Adopts Greenhouse Emissions Standard

Facility-based standard requires baseload generation agreements be made with plants that have emissions under 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.

The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) said Thursday that it has adopted an interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Performance Standard to help combat climate change.

The standard is facility-based and requires new plant investments, new or renewal contracts 5 years or longer, or major investments in existing plants for baseload generation be made with power plants that have emissions no greater than a combined cycle gas turbine plant, which is 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour.

“To help mitigate climate change, the PUC has long anticipated capping greenhouse gas emissions in order to ensure that load-serving entities make long-term commitments to energy resources that have GHG emissions profiles that are at least as clean as California’s existing portfolio,” said PUC President Michael R. Peevey.

In October 2005, the Commission approved a policy statement on its stance on GHG emissions and about a year later, Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law SB 1368 and Assembly Bill 32, which require reporting and verification of statewide GHG emissions.

“The Emissions Performance Standard is a vital step towards achieving the emissions reductions goals of AB 32 and protecting our ratepayers against the risk of high carbon prices in the not-too-distant future,” said PUC Commissioner Dian M. Grueneich. “At the same time, this decision leaves the door open to new, advanced technologies and carbon sequestration projects that will allow the energy industry to develop clean and sustainable sources of power.”

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