Questions, Aspirations & Projections

EconAlliance’s Energy Forum was hosted May 9 from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm at Craft House at Corque in Solvang. This event’s keynotes were focused on the topic, California’s Energy Transition. 110 attendees learned about cutting-edge energy solutions, current energy demands, and the investments needed to support progress. City officials, along with representatives from utility groups, environmental project experts, scientists, and the general public, gathered to hear from leading scientists across the energy production spectrum. The focus? California’s energy goals and the multifaceted approach needed to achieve them.

Experts attendees were introduced to several interesting wind projects on the Central Coast, two of which (Strauss wind energy project and the CADEMO off-shore wind project) are centered in Northern Santa Barbara County. See CADEMO Report.

EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding
Strauss Wind Project Facilities Manager, Rand Lara
EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding

Those attending also learned about Local Energy Projects and a unique local, innovative, algae-centered carbon capture company called Pacific AgriTec, presented by Lee-Volker Cox, Board Member, AgriTec (photo, L). See the report in the Energy section of the document center.

Attendees were updated on renewal licensing efforts for Diablo Canyon Power Plant and expansion of the Central Coast Community Energy (3CE) program. See the Diablo Canyon report in the document library. The message was clear: a gradual, multi-pronged approach is key. While renewable energy sources offer tremendous promise, they each have limitations. See the 3CE Presentation in Report Library. 

EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding
Diablo Canyon Power Plant Update – Eric Daniels, Public Policy & External Affairs, PG&E
EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding
3CE Update – Jeff Railsback, Customer Account Manager, 3CE

Keynotes and Key Takeaways

The event highlighted the critical role of grants and investments in facilitating a smooth transition away from traditional energy sources. Keynote topic presenter Jennifer Miller, Renewable Energy Chief of the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Pacific Region, provided insight into the ten-year offshore wind energy permitting process faced by several proposed California coastal offshore wind projects. See her presentation in Energy Reports.

EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding
Jennifer Miller

Miller projected a duration of 12-13 years from project start to operations once construction time was included, with a project company facing the challenge surviving a decade with millions of dollars of fees and investment required with no assurance of permitting.

EconAlliance Energy Forum Fuels Understanding
Mark Nechodom, Senior Director, Science & Technology, WSPA

Mark Nechodom, PhD, Senior Dir, Science & Technology, Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA), one of two presenters on the keynote topic, The California Energy Transition, posed a critical question:

How do we address the climate challenge while maintaining California’s $3.6 trillion economy and sustaining our collective human well-being? That’s the question we all need to ask ourselves.

The question referred to the State’s aspirational goal of reducing carbon emissions significantly (to 40% of 1990 levels by 2030) while still meeting California’s energy demand (10M gallons diesel, 42M gasoline, 1M jet fuel) for travel, industrial energy, commuting and tourism. See his presentation in the Report library.

The EconAlliance Energy Forum underscored the importance of a diverse energy portfolio to ensure grid reliability and to meet California's ever-growing power demands.