Tokyo-based Electric Power Subsidiary partners with AP Solar in 400 MW Texas Solar Project

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Industry News

State Power Authority Floats California Plan

LCG, Jan. 29, 2002--Attendees of a hearing on California's fledgling Power Authority expressed support for some of its objectives, such as expanding generation options, while not totally embracing the Authority's potential for intervening in the market.

The hearing in Oakland yesterday included senior staff from the Power Authority, including chairman David Freeman, as well as representatives from business, environmental and consumer groups. The plan proposed for comment included issuance of $5 billion worth of bonds which would be used for energy efficiency, demand management, and small, non-fossil-fired generating resources.

Freeman said that his agency's goal was to respond to and interact with what he called a "hybrid system" in the state's energy market. Sean Randolph of the Bay Area Economic Forum, which analyzes growth, business and community issues, commented that "we don't think (the authority) should be in the role of supplanting new investment or spend state money in areas where the market is prepared to step in." He also expressed concern that investors could be deterred by excessive involvement by the power authority in the market, and in particular by the threat of eminent domain.

Other attendees, such as Jill Ratner of the Oakland-based Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment supported investment in renewable energy sources, whereas most recent development has been in the form of gas-fired power plants. Freeman stated, "we've got too many of our eggs in the natural gas basket for a prudent businessman to be comfortable with." The hearing will be followed by other opportunities for public comment on Power Authority objectives.

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