I had just written an articles for the Colorado Renewable Energy Society’s e-newsletter CRES Clips about goings on at the Colorado Public Utilites Comission (PUC), when a piece of big piece of PUC related news came out:
Why should every advocate in Colorado care? Because it’s great to have another sympathetic ear!
What follows is the article I wrote for CRES Clips, to give readers unfamiliar with the PUC an idea of why I think this is so important:
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission: Where Energy Policy is Implemented
2007 was a banner year for the
lawmakers when it comes to energy policy, and with all the successes. While it would be tempting for clean energy advocates to declare victory and go home, getting good laws passed is only the beginning. When it comes to implementing laws that pertain to investor-owned utilities, the responsibility falls on the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to interpret the legislation and ensure that our state’s public utilities comply with that interpretation. Here, “public utilities” means Xcel and Aquila , since rural electric cooperatives and municipal utilities are generally exempt from PUC regulation.
The PUC accomplishes its business in a series of “dockets” in which various “interveners” submit testimony (and respond to other interveners’ testimony) for the PUC to consider. Individuals can become interveners, but it is time consuming and requires
knowledge of PUC procedure. Public interest groups with an attorney can also intervene, with various expert witnesses submitting testimony on behalf of that group.
CRES is not currently intervening in any dockets, although several members of the Policy Committee (including myself) are involved in one way or another. Given those inherent conflicts of interest, CRES is not currently endorsing any particular intervening group.
What follows is a quick summary of some of the most important dockets before the PUC this year, and the groups who support Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency who are intervening, and whom you can support or contact for more information about their activities. Also, it is possible that the PUC will combine some of these dockets.
07A-447E Xcel Resource Plan. These dockets will determine the mix of new generation and energy efficiency resources with which Xcel plans to meet our anticipated electricity needs in the coming years. Anticipated/ current interveners: EEBC, IEA, RUC, SWEEP, WRA.
DSM Plan in which the PUC will review Xcel’s proposals for electricity DSM policy including energy savings and DSM budget goals, DSM program cost recovery, and incentive to the utility for implementing effective DSM programs. This docket was initiated in response to DSM legislation enacted last year, HB 07-1037.
Renewable Energy Plan in which the PUC will review Xcel’s plans for complying with the recently doubled Renewable Energy Standard. Interveners: CoSEIA, WRA.
Plan on Transmission. Transmission is essential to bringing the power from renewable energy sources to population centers. This docket will determine much of when and where transmission is upgraded or built, and so will have a long term impact on what Renewables can be developed. Current Interveners: IEA, WRA.
DSM Rules. This docket will determine the key policies governing gas utility energy efficiency programs, including energy savings goals and how utilities will be compensated and rewarded for reductions in natural gas usage. Current Interveners: EEBC, RUC, SWEEP.
to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advocacy Groups intervening at
the Public Utilities Commission (alphabetical.)
CRES has not reviewed the testimony of any of these parties, and their
opinions are their own. Their
information is included because they are known to be aligned with CRES’s
mission of promoting Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in
Solar Energy Industries Association
Lynn Hirshman, Executive Director
lynn at coseia dot org
Trade association for the Solar industries in
Energy Efficiency Business Coalition of
Paul Kriescher, President
PaulK at lightlytreading dot com
Industry Association of Energy Efficiency Businesses,
dedicated to promoting Energy Efficiency in
Craig Cox, Executive Director
cox at interwest dot org
Group of RE businesses and advocacy groups promoting RE project
development in the West.
Gina Hardin, Attorney
ginahardin at msn dot com
Nonprofit advocating for responsible and accountable
energy at the PUC.
Southwest Energy Efficiency Project
Howard Geller, Executive Director
hgeller at swenergy dot
Promotes Energy Efficiency in Southwestern States
Western Resource Advocates
John Nielsen, Energy Project Director jnielsen at westernresources dot org
Nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the
natural resources of the states of the interior west.