Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

RPS quote of the day

Posted by Rich Sweeney on December 7, 2007

“If that passes, I’m stocking up on flashlights.”

That was Pedro Pizarro, senior Vice President of Southern California Edison, yesterday after being asked about the prospect of a 50% RPS in California. This statement highlights a reality that those of us who’ve attempted to model renewable penetration have know for some time. Even if you were to overcome what appear to be substantial renewables supply constraints, the technology itself is still too nascent to play a major role on the grid. Without storage and better input estimates, even a 33% RPS, which is California’s current target, would come with an enormous price tag and intolerably low reliability.

One Response to “RPS quote of the day”

  1. Charles Cronin said

    Mr. Pizarro, your response is driven by constraints of traditional power transmission, there is not enough time to build the transmission lines to the mega-sites that would be required. If SCE would support the elimination of the limit on Grid connected renewable energies, offer the use of greater incentives rather than use rate payers funds for transmission lines and make an honest effort to achieve CSI commitments we would not need flashlights. It would mean that SCE would migrate from investments in fossil fuel generation/transmission such as the Oxnard Peaker that create controversy. The alternative is to enable solar on every commercial space in SoCal. In many cases that is preferred to wind as the solar load is in direct proportion to the demand curve. We would encourage you to take that approach of concentrated and accelerated solar and conservation in the cities of Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks and Ventura County rather than spend close to $40 million on the Presidential Sub Station and related sub Transmission lines. Your background as a McKinsey & Co. consultant provided you with the ability to create and implement creative solutions. You have led the state in the acquisition of renewable power resources however it has come at a heavy cost to the desert and the transmission corridors. Please take that same creativity and apply it to our service area in a pilot program that could actually provide a greater return for SCE shareholders through lower infrastructure, new plants, transmission, CPUC compliance and legal costs. It might also generate a great deal of jobs and good will while allowing SCE to make the return required by its investors.
    Charles Cronin

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