At the request of state legislators, California's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office released a report Wednesday that urges greater coordination of the state's dozen clean-energy and energy-efficiency programs.
The programs range from rebates for energy efficient appliances to cash back incentives for rooftop solar systems and grants to develop low-carbon fuels. California is spending more than $1 billion on the various program in current fiscal year, with much of the funding comes from utility ratepayers.
"Some of these programs were piece-mealed together," Anthony Simbol, the deputy legislative analyst, said in an interview Wednesday. "There hasn't been much of an effort to figure out how all of the programs coordinate together to meet larger goals. We can't tell the legislature which programs are the most effective."
Multiple state agencies -- including the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission and the Air Resources Board -- administer the programs. The LAO recommends that the Legislature develop a "comprehensive strategy for meeting the state's energy efficiency and alternative energy objectives" and suggests designating the California Energy Commission as the "lead agency" to develop the strategy.
The recommendations come as California prepares to absorb new revenue from the cap-and-trade auctions and the Proposition 39, the ballot measure passed by voters in November.
The LAO says revenue from the Air Resources Board's cap-and-trade auctions, which raised about $55 million for the state in November, constitute "mitigation fee" revenues and must be used accordingly.
"Revenues from the cap-and-trade auctions must be used only to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions or the harms caused by greenhouse gas emissions," the report said.
Proposition 39, which eliminated a corporate sales tax loophole, is expected to raise $1 billion a year. The measure requires that up to half of the revenue be deposited in a new Clean Energy Job Creation Fund to support energy efficiency retrofits for public schools and government facilities, as well as job training and workforce development. A new nine-member oversight board will annually review and evaluate spending from the fund.
The aim is to avoid turf wars and to assure that the programs are run effectively.
"We know that collaboration is critical for the programs and our energy future," said Terrie Prosper, a spokeswoman for the California Public Utilities Commission.
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.
State agencies that oversee a dozen energy programs:
The California Public Utilities Commission
The California Energy Commission
The California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority
The Air Resources Board
Source: Legislative Analysts Office