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01/16/2020

We also provide useful hints in the form of tables and images.As the federal government has moved away from supporting wind power on a federal level, states have made their own decisions about how they will go about delivering wind power to their consumers. California has a unique set of challenges. The state, in addition to having a large population and some of the most abundant and windy land in the country, is also the only state with a robust wind energy resource, with nearly half its wind energy generating capacity located within the boundaries of its borders. Additionally, California is the only single state with mandatory energy efficiency standards for new homes that apply as of 2017.

We also provide useful hints in the form of tables and images.As the federal government has moved away from supporting wind power on a federal level, states have made their own decisions about how they will go about delivering wind power to their consumers. California has a unique set of challenges. The state, in addition to having a large population and some of the most abundant and windy land in the country, is also the only state with a robust wind energy resource, with nearly half its wind energy generating capacity located within the boundaries of its borders. Additionally, California is the only single state with mandatory energy efficiency standards for new homes that apply as of 2017.
Despite the advantages it has to offer, there is a lot about California’s state policy framework that makes it difficult to install wind power in places other than a few very specific areas around the state. Wind energy developers need to negotiate with the federal and California authorities over how best to build their projects in each of these regions, meaning they must work very carefully to minimize their environmental impact (although the National Association of Clean Air Agencies claims that many wind projects in California do not use on-site energy-recycling equipment). And, just as with the California’s other advantages, there is also a danger, especially among young Californians, of California’s climate policies becoming too “narrow” to encourage many other renewable energy sources that are cheaper than wind.
This can be seen in the California Electricity Reliability Council, which oversees about two-thirds of the state’s electric system and has been a key actor in the state’s aggressive move to add clean energy. Under the Renewable Portfolio Standards, the CFER relies on the wind industry to build “large, minimum-impact infrastructure” throughout the state, with a goal of meeting 100 percent of electricity demand generated from renewable sources by mid-century. As the numbers indicate, the CFER is very good at identifying wind energy resources. But many of the wind farms it approved are too small to be considered a meaningful environmental benefit, while the rest (more than 500) don’t offer a substantial renewable impact.
Despite this, the CFER has announced the completion of a three-year study to come up with a new set of guidelines for wind power development. Those guidelines are expected to be published in the coming weeks, although some have already begun to call for changes to the guidelines — which, as is customary, they would propose with some variation along ideological and geographic lines. While conservative activists are already criticizing the idea behind the new guidelines, there is also some opposition (even among some of the CFER’s members) who believe that the CFER should keep its focus on meeting state-level renewable energy targets instead of focusing on wind farms around the clock. In part this is because wind farms that generate the most electricity are more costly to operate than ones with smaller generating capacities (wind farms that produce 1 megawatt of electricity cost $7,000 per megawatt hour for maintenance and operation, while 1 megawatt of wind power does not cost that much from a maintenance and operation perspective). However, another reason the CFER may want to alter its policy is because the CFER has the power to veto projects on the very grounds that they might not even be eligible for the Renewable Portfolio Standard in the first place. According to a recent report by Renewables International, “of the 812 California projects submitted to the California Independent System Operator