California Legislature Passes ACR 188, Setting Stage for Conversations on Regional Electric Grid Collaboration

For immediate release:

Sacramento, CA – This week, Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill, ACR 188, passed both legislative chambers on a unanimous, bipartisan vote. This measure requires the California Independent System Operator to produce a report that:

  • summarizes recent relevant studies on the impacts of expanded regional electric grid cooperation on California and;
  • identifies key issues that will most effectively advance the state’s energy and environmental goals, including any available studies that reflect the impact of regionalization on transmission costs and reliability for California ratepayers.

The report shall be completed in consultation with the California balancing authorities and is due to the California Legislature by February 28, 2023.

“California is working to accelerate progress on its clean energy goals, spur offshore wind development, and scale our energy infrastructure and transmission to meet our energy needs. All of this is only possible if we work with our neighbors in the West and create a regional system that expands the footprint for clean energy resources and enables better collaboration, transparency and integration across the western power grid system. Engaging with the rest of the region to ensure electric reliability and affordability for California households is critical, and I’m pleased to see such broad support for ACR 188, which will help pave the way,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden.

ACR 188’s passage comes at a time when other western states are actively engaged in conversations about regional solutions to help achieve state clean energy and climate goals while increasing energy resource adequacy and helping maintain energy affordability for households.

“California has much to gain by working with the rest of the West on meeting energy demand, improving system reliability, and reducing energy costs. ACR 188 sets the stage for California to engage substantively with its neighbors, and it’s great to see the Legislature recognize the importance of regional collaboration when it comes to our energy grid and achieving state goals,” said Amisha Rai, Managing Director at Advanced Energy Economy.  

“Analyzing an expansion of an integrated regional electricity grid and the clean energy resources that would feed into it will make it easier and more efficient to wean off fossil fuels,” said Victoria Rome, director of California government affairs at Natural Resources Defense Council. “Assemblymember Chris Holden’s bill is a smart effort toward reaching the state’s climate goals.”

There is growing interest in regionalizing the transmission grid to ensure California keeps the lights on and avoids rolling blackouts, while also meeting our clean energy targets. Last year, both Nevada and Colorado passed legislation to spur transmission development and a requirement for their utilities to join a Western Regional Transmission Organization by 2030, jumpstarting a state-led conversation around what a regional system that meets the needs of the West should look like.