California Lawmakers Scupper Bill for one western power grid

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, September 4, 2018

State lawmakers declined to advance legislation on Friday that would have laid the groundwork to connect California’s grid to as many as 13 other states. Under the measure, a multi-state regional authority would have managed the flow of power across the U.S. West, allowing more electricity to cross state lines and better incorporate wind and solar.

California Governor Jerry Brown had been a key supporter of the bill.

California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Democrat of San Diego, said late Friday the bill wouldn’t be moved to the Senate floor for a vote this year.

“We will continue this important discussion next year,” Atkins said in a statement.

The decision comes as California’s tension mounts with President Donald Trump over climate and energy policy. The state sued his administration over efforts to relax tailpipe emissions limits. And after the White House in August released a plan easing rules on power-plant emissions, California lawmakers passed a measure to source all of the state’s electricity from clean-power sources by 2045.

The idea of consolidating the West Coast’s electrical grids isn’t new, but it only recently gained traction. Brown and other proponents say a regional grid would boost the use of renewables and prompt power costs to fall. Critics warned that such a plan could prop up Western coal-fired plants and allow greater oversight from the Trump administration.