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A Major Milestone for California’s Water-Energy Initiative
On October 25, 2011, Commissioner Mark J. Ferron of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling identifying the water-energy nexus as an important channel for achieving long-term energy savings. This ruling sets the stage for the first comprehensive program for integrated management of California’s water and energy resources. Stakeholders are invited “… to propose and critique additional strategies to overcome barriers to deployment and adoption of EE (energy efficiency) in the water-energy context.”
The undeniable interdependencies between water and energy have been acknowledged multiple times in our nation’s history, typically when one or the other resource faced significant scarcity. The nexus was a critical factor in the early 1970s when the U.S. sought to wean itself from politically volatile oil supplies in favor of building an energy independent future. More recently, several factors - the extended drought in the western U.S., renewed commitment to long-term energy security in the wake of 9/11, and anticipated changes to consumption and supplies of water and energy as a result of climate change - have kept the nexus top-of-mind.
Over the past ten years, as multiple nexus teams convened throughout the U.S. to characterize the broad spectrum of water-energy opportunities, it became clear that a shared vision was simply not enough. Although the needs and interests of water and energy stakeholders are closely aligned, organizational, economic and jurisdictional boundaries continue to thwart efforts to implement cross-cutting (multi-resource and multi-utility) programs. The missing ingredient was a new regulatory framework specifically structured to overcome barriers to collaboration between water and energy stakeholders. The CPUC’s current proceeding presents a unique opportunity to finally achieve market transformation in this important new sector.
The CPUC's proceeding is on an expedited track. Interested parties can monitor CPUC proceeding R.09-11-014 by registering to receive documents here: http://subscribecpuc.cpuc.ca.gov/. To provide comments, first file a motion with the Administrative Law Judge assigned to this proceeding to request “party status”. (See Rule 1.4 of the CPUC’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/published/RULES_PRAC_PROC/70731.htm for more information.)Topics: Energy Efficiency, Market Transformation, Water Efficiency, Water Energy Nexus, Sustainability
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Kudos to you all, Laurie and Lorraine, as this is an extremely timely w-e forum long overdue! Yesterday's critically important LA Times article on the energy intensity of State Water Project supplied water underscores the urgency of all of our collective work to begin and/or intensify real live w-e savings projects!