California makes an agreement regarding electrical transmission and resource planning and implementation

As California transitions to a decarbonized electrical grid to reach carbon neutrality by 2045, nothing is more foundational to our success than maintaining reliability while promoting affordability and equity along the way.

In December, state agencies and the California Independent System Operator (ISO) came together and took a critical step toward achieving those carbon neutrality goals with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The new MOU between the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Energy Commission (CEC) and the ISO is straightforward and just four pages long. But it has important implications for the state’s clean-energy future.

Through improved coordination, the agreement tightens the linkage between transmission planning, generation planning, resource procurement, and the process used to connect new resources to the grid to support reliability and greenhouse gas reduction.

With so much new clean power being added to the system, close collaboration and proactive planning between the CPUC, CEC, and ISO are essential for maximum efficiency, reliability and the timely integration of new resources.

This enhanced emphasis on heightened coordination will make our processes for adding new resources more orderly and effective because the different roles our organizations play in California energy planning will be more closely aligned and synchronized.

While the Legislature and Governor set overall energy policy for the state, each of the MOU’s signatory entities has a distinct set of responsibilities in the planning and management needed to help carry out those policies.

The CEC forecasts demand, with those forecasts becoming the basis for transmission and resource planning. The CPUC develops forward-looking resource portfolios that inform procurement requirements for the load-serving entities the CPUC oversees. And the ISO conducts transmission planning that results in driving expansion of transmission infrastructure to enhance reliability and provide access to energy rich areas. The ISO also manages the resource interconnection process for new sources of energy wanting to connect to the grid.