Last week, utility regulators from California, Oregon, and Washington reaffirmed a 2006 commitment to support carbon reduction and clean energy. The commissioners – Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, David Danner, chairman of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, and Lisa Hardie, chairwoman of the Oregon Public Utility Commission – met in Seattle to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to promote cost effective, reliable, and clean energy resources and infrastructure. Western state utility commissioners signed a similar agreement in 2006 to address climate change and implement principles set forth in the September 2003 West Coast Governor’s Global Warming initiative.

While the agreement contains absolutely no details–or any real plans, the regulators have said they and their staffs will “share information and best practices” about how to implement energy-efficiency programs, integrate renewable energy, and “harmonize roadside charge points for electric cars.” There has also been talk about establishing an energy-imbalance market, which would allow Western states to shift intermittent energy from solar and wind farms between each other. This could lower costs and increase the ratio of renewables on the grid and while the states have noted that they have the tools to expand upon an energy imbalance market, it’s easier with the support of other states who have similar policy framework.

The commissioners also noted the “successes” from the last decade since their last memorandum.  According to Mr. Danner, Washington has made strides on energy efficiency and is on track to get 15% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, not to be outdone, the Oregon delegation bragged that the state plans on forcing its only coal plant to close by 2020, and California broke the news that it is three years ahead of schedule in reaching a 2020 goal of running the grid on 33 percent renewable energy. Due to the government crackdown, the emissions of each state have dropped.

All three states opined that their collaborative effort is necessary to address the “real-life implications” of climate change and will result in reducing greenhouse-gas pollution, improving system reliability, and obtaining cost benefits for ratepayers.

Press Release HERE.