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Western Public, Private Sectors Give Thumbs Up to New Energy Bill

Western industry stakeholders heaped mostly praise on the 2005 Energy Policy Act Monday, following President Bush's signing of the legislation. California's governor, the state's largest electric utility and the federal government's large regional electricity marketer/transporter in the Pacific Northwest all issued initial reactions.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said the new law "holds many victories for California," including the bill's provisions supporting solar, hydrogen and other renewable energy sources. Southern California Edison Co. emphasized its support for a comprehensive measure, and the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) top executive, Steve Wright, said his agency was "pleased with the potential for improved electric reliability" carried in the nation's first comprehensive energy measure in more than a decade.

BPA pointed to five significant parts affecting its operations as a federal power supplier in a four-state region heavily influenced by public-sector energy projects, and they are all tied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC's) expanded and/or clarified role:

"This bill, like the federal transportation bill, is an example of the great results that we can achieve when we work in a bipartisan and cooperative manner," Schwarzenegger said in a prepared statement from Sacramento.

Nevertheless, Schwarzenegger cautioned that there is still "much work to be done," pledging to continue to work with the California elected officials to make sure "California's energy priorities are realized."

An Edison utility spokesperson in Rosemead, CA, said the new energy law contains "important public policy measures including new consumer protections and incentives for investment in renewable energy and expanded transmission resources."

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