May 16, 2008
ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 16, 2008 — Southern California Edison (SCE) today proposed to the California Air Resources Board the first major set of “early action” greenhouse gas reduction projects developed since California enacted Assembly Bill 32 — the historic climate change legislation that aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. The board is responsible for establishing the regulations and monitoring systems needed to implement the law.
SCE’s proposal is designed to support a component of AB 32 that directs the board to reward those who voluntarily undertake “early action measures” that could begin the greenhouse gas reduction process while it develops the state’s final rules, due Jan. 1, 2012.
“One of our highest objectives is to save our customers money while helping to achieve California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said SCE President John Fielder. “By acting now under the voluntary provisions of AB 32, SCE can achieve greenhouse gas reductions that likely will be substantially less costly for customers than when the final rules implementing the law take effect in 2012.”
If approved, SCE’s plan could reduce the equivalent of 3.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, comparable to removing approximately 800,000 cars from California roads. The plan includes eight individual projects that would apply advanced clean technologies to a variety of emissions sources. Examples include reducing emissions from idling trucks at large truck stops and converting livestock waste to fuel. (All eight projects are described in an attachment.)
“SCE’s program calls for independent state validation, before we begin these projects, of the specific greenhouse gas reduction methods proposed plus strict results measurements after the projects are in operation,” said Michael Hertel, SCE director of environmental policy.
The utility estimates its combined early action program would cost about $23 million. SCE soon will file a related request at the California Public Utilities Commission for authority to include these greenhouse gas reduction costs in customer rates if the Air Resources Board confirms the soundness of SCE’s greenhouse gas reduction calculations in today’s filing.
Approval by regulators of the full set of SCE early action projects would represent two-tenths of 1 percent of current rates.
- SCE has industry-leading renewable energy and customer energy-efficiency programs as well as a low-carbon generating portfolio. As a result, the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions already are lower than its 1990 levels.
- SCE’s current generation mix — 50 percent natural gas, 21 percent nuclear, 16 percent renewable, 8 percent coal and 5 percent large hydro — has a marginal rate of about 0.4 metric tons of carbon dioxide per megawatt-hour, well below the national average.
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Southern California Edison, an Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, is California’s largest electric utility. SCE serves a population of more than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.
Southern California Edison’s Proposed Early Action Project List
Southern California Edison (SCE) examined potential projects both inside and outside California. Because greenhouse gases distribute quickly and evenly around the globe, reducing emissions elsewhere has the same beneficial effect on California as reductions inside the state. Projects proposed meet the following criteria:
- They are the most viable, least-costly projects currently available that are capable of producing the greatest emissions reductions.
- They address emissions not currently covered by other greenhouse gas reduction programs.
1. Converting Large Truck Stops to Operate with Electricity
SCE’s proposal would reduce diesel emissions from large truck stops by allowing long-distance truck drivers to shut down their engines during mandatory rest stops. Truck stop owners would be offered financial incentives to help convert 1,000 parking spaces, providing truck cabs with heating, cooling, cable TV and electrical service. The project would target truck stops in California and in bordering states like Nevada where trucks stop before completing deliveries to California.
2. Converting Livestock Waste to Power Fuel
The project would reduce methane emissions from animal waste by converting this greenhouse gas into a renewable fuel for power generation. Incentives would help small dairy farms not covered by other similar programs that are located in the Central Valley of SCE’s service territory. The project would help fund renewable energy projects using anaerobic digesters, a process in which microorganisms are used to break down biodegradable material, to produce a methane biogas and fuel on site electricity production.
3. Converting Forklifts to Operate with Electricity
SCE’s proposal would reduce diesel, propane and gasoline emissions at Southern California warehouse, manufacturing centers and ports. Incentives would help forklift users acquire clean electric units.
4. Advancing Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles
SCE proposes offering rebates to consumers purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. This project would encourage the advancement of plug-in transportation technologies, thereby reducing emissions from one of the nation’s largest sources of greenhouse gases.
5. Increasing Urban Tree Planting
SCE’s proposal would result in 70,000 new urban trees across the 15 counties it serves, capturing carbon dioxide from the air while beautifying participating communities. SCE would provide the trees to city, county and state agencies that would plant and maintain them.
6. Convert Agriculture Pump Engines to Operate with Electricity
SCE’s plan would target emissions from older diesel pump motors, primarily in the Central Valley, focusing on those not covered by other state financial incentives to switch to cleaner electro-technologies.
7. Converting Gases from Abandoned Mine to Power Fuel
This project would reduce methane currently escaping into the atmosphere from abandoned mines, likely in a neighboring state. Methane is 24 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
8. Reducing Sulfur Hexafluoride Emissions
Sulfur hexafluoride is a greenhouse gas with 22,200 times the climate change impact as the same volume of carbon dioxide. It is used as an insulator in high voltage electrical equipment such as circuit breakers, transformers and switch gears. The gas often escapes into the atmosphere through leakage in older equipment, during maintenance or repairs and during equipment disposal.
For more than 20 years, SCE voluntarily has been capturing and reclaiming or safely disposing of sulfur hexafluoride emissions from its operations.
SCE proposes assisting utilities in countries not yet taking steps to control this greenhouse gas, offering them information on SCE’s successful sulfur hexafluoride capture and disposal program plus financial incentives for implementing such a program.