California Assemblymember Chris Holden Takes the Lead on Regional Electricity Grid Integration to Enhance Reliability and Lower Costs

EDF statement from Michael Colvin, Director, California Energy Program

February 8, 2023
Chandler Green,, 803-981-2211

(Sacramento, CA — February 8, 2023) Today, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D - District 41) announced his intention for California to pursue further integration of the Western regional electricity grid. This builds upon the California Independent System Operator’s expansion of its “day ahead” market to the Western region. A broader regional transmission organization will allow for more clean electricity generation and transmission resources to be developed and shared across the West.

“All Californians deserve access to an affordable, clean and reliable energy system. A Western regional energy market would enhance grid reliability, reduce our reliance on the state’s dirtiest power plants, create new jobs, save electricity customers money and improve the cost-effectiveness of clean energy deployment. 

“Assemblymember Holden is to be commended for his commitment to ambitious climate action. His ability to find common ground among stakeholders makes him a natural leader for California and in the Western United States in this critical effort.

“We look forward to ongoing conversation with Assemblymember Holden and all of the interested stakeholders to deliver the most environmental and economic benefits to the West.”

  • Michael Colvin, Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s California Energy Program 

Environmental Defense Fund and allied organizations recently submitted comments on a draft report sponsored by the California Independent System Operator on the regionalization effort. Those comments will be incorporated into a final report due to the legislature on February 28. This report will inform subsequent legislative efforts and EDF will remain deeply engaged in the process to develop policy details in the coming months. EDF’s priorities include:

  • Shutting down the state’s dirtiest power plants, known as “once-through cooled” plants, as soon as possible. Legislation authorizing a regional market should be designed in such a way that facilitates the retirement of these plants. 
  • Properly allocate resources to community and stakeholder engagement to ensure that local preferences are being reflected in California’s clean energy agenda. 
  • Ensuring support for high-quality energy jobs throughout the state.

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