Today, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved the sale of Southern California Edison’s (SCE) partial interest in the Four Corners coal-fired power plant to the Arizona Public Services Company.
This sale is another indication that California’s landmark climate and energy laws—including: AB 32, which puts a price on carbon; SB 1368, its electricity performance standard; and SB 2, its 33% renewable portfolio standard—are working to encourage state utilities to find ways to move toward cleaner energy sources, cut pollution, protect ratepayers, and maintain reliability.
According to long-term resource plans and investment initiatives, SCE intends to replace the 800 MW of power that was generated near the Four Corners landmark in northwest New Mexico with lower-carbon resources such as natural gas, renewable energy, and energy efficiency – all of which can create in-state jobs and economic activity.
Once the transaction is final, California will have dedicated contracts from four major coal-fired plants:
- Navajo (Arizona);
- Reid Gardner (Nevada);
- San Juan (New Mexico), and;
- Intermountain (Utah).
Of course, adherence to the California Environmental Quality Act and other applicable state and federal environmental standards must be observed in connection with investments or authorizations related to the sale of an emissions-generating source. Such provisions are necessary to ensure that documented emissions reductions are real and achieve the environmental benefits desired.
When this ownership transfer is complete, SCE’s contribution to California's coal shadow will drop by approximately 5 million tons of CO2 annually, an amount greater than the largest in-state source of greenhouse gas pollution. (EDF first highlighted California’s coal shadow, which is the impact of coal-produced power sold into the state, in a 2005 report.)
EDF looks forward to working with the CPUC and California utilities as environmental regulations are used to reduce our state’s future coal shadow.
*Legal disclaimer: Nothing in this post is intended to comment on or provide findings or conclusions related to future or pending evaluations of compliance with federal or state law.