CEC sets public meeting on renewable energy plant

What: A stakeholder meeting on the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) will be held on Wednesday, March 14. The DRECP, a major component of California’s renewable energy planning efforts, will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy projects.

An update and discussion on transmission planning, review and discussion of renewable energy assumptions for the DRECP, an update on the solar programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS), and the California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA) refined wind energy proposal are among the scheduled topics. An agenda will be posted before the meeting at: http://www.drecp.org/meetings/index.html

When: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Where: This will be a WebEx meeting. Those who would like to attend in person can go to the California Energy Commission, Hearing Room B, 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California.

People unable to attend the meeting can participate by telephone and/or by computer. Click the following link and scroll to page 3: http://www.drecp.org/meetings/2012-03-14_meeting/2012-03-14_Meeting.pdf

Who: The DRECP is focused on the desert regions and adjacent lands of seven California counties – Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego. It is being prepared through an unprecedented collaborative effort between the California Energy Commission, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also known as the Renewable Energy Action Team.

The DRECP will result in an efficient and effective biological mitigation and conservation program providing renewable project developers with permit timing and cost certainty under the federal and California Endangered Species Acts while at the same time preserving, restoring and enhancing natural communities and related ecosystems. Approximately 22.5 million acres of federal and non-federal California desert land are in the DRECP planning area.

The DRECP stakeholder committee provides a forum for public participation and input. Committee members include the counties in the desert regions, renewable energy developers, environmental organizations, recreation organizations, Native American representatives and electric utilities. State and federal agencies also participate in stakeholder committee meetings.

Why: Many renewable energy projects have been proposed in the Southern California desert due to the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector. In April 2011, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed a new law requiring utilities to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. State policy prefers in-state generation of renewable energy, but project developers must find both environmentally acceptable and economical sites. The DRECP will facilitate this renewable energy facility siting. More information on the DRECP can be found at www.drecp.org.