A tale of two energy worlds.
Michael A. Yuffee is a partner in global law firm McDermott Will & Emery, based in Washington, D.C. Previously he was an attorney-advisor in FERC’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.
With the largest population and economic output of any state, California occupies an important but unusual place in the U.S. energy market. In such areas as renewable energy and energy-efficiency policy, it’s a trend-setter on initiatives among the states and the federal government. This is particularly true given the ambitious program the Obama Administration unveiled to simultaneously move toward a comprehensive greenhouse-gas (GHG)-reduction effort, while dramatically expanding investment in the nationwide energy grid with special emphasis on wholesale power demand-response (DR) programs. These goals reflect policies that California already began: A landmark climate change law (AB 32) passed in 2006 that calls for substantial GHG reductions and for a cap-and-trade program to limit emissions from the largest GHG emitters; an ambitious renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requiring retail power providers to supply 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2010; and aggressive energy-efficiency goals with supporting DR programs.