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California’s Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative as a Model for State Renewable Resource Development and Transmission Planning

Brian Scaccia


December 13, 2011

3 Climate Law 25 (2012)

In the absence of federal climate change regulation, states have taken the lead in the implementation of aggressive policies to promote economic development, decrease dependence on foreign energy sources, and achieve broad environmental goals through increased reliance on renewable energy sources. The renewable energy portfolio standard has become the most common tool used by states to achieve their particular policy goals; however, numerous barriers stand in the way of electricity providers seeking compliance with the RPS mandate.

The California Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative (“RETI”) was a statewide attempt to overcome problems related to transmission planning and costs, private and public land use issues, and environmental impacts. By seeking the involvement of broad stakeholder groups in the identification and evaluation of potential renewable energy zones, RETI hoped to create a roadmap for future renewable energy development in the state that is both economically and environmentally sound. Its progress thus far provides key insights into the challenges faced by states attempting to comply with their RPS mandates.

This paper examines several key components of the RETI process, focusing primarily on the concerns of participant selection, locating transmission, permitting, and the timing of both the planning and implementation stages of the initiative. The paper evaluates RETI’s success in achieving its stated goals while also identifying areas of concern not addressed by the initiative. The results of this analysis provides guidance for states implementing their own RPS programs.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 23

Keywords: RETI, Renewable, Climate Change, RPS, Transmission, Grid, Permitting, NEPA, CEQA, Stakeholder, CREZ

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Date posted: February 15, 2011 ; Last revised: March 25, 2015

Suggested Citation

Scaccia, Brian, California’s Renewable Energy Transmission Initiative as a Model for State Renewable Resource Development and Transmission Planning (December 13, 2011). 3 Climate Law 25 (2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1762329 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1762329

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