Action for an RTO

“I look forward to our continued work with the Legislature, California stakeholders and our partners in other states to advance this important effort on enhanced regional collaboration that will benefit all the West.” – Governor Gavin Newsom
Mountains Based Renewable Energy Power Plant. Wind Energy. Coachella Valley, California, United States of America.

The state Legislature unanimously passed a resolution last year, ACR 188, requesting a comprehensive assessment of how a regional transmission organization (RTO) could help California achieve its energy and environmental goals.

In February 2023, California’s grid manager – the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) – released a report prepared by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that provided a definitive conclusion: “California’s goals for renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction can be achieved more quickly and with less cost to Californians through expanded regional cooperation.”

The ACR 188 report surveyed existing research on regionalization – finding a “consistent narrative” on the benefits of regional energy cooperation. These include:

The report cites one recent study that found an RTO of 11 western states would save Californians up to $563 million in annual energy bill savings, create 138,700 new high-paying jobs (averaging $91,000 in annual compensation), produce $21.7 billion in economic growth, and accelerate 470 megawatts of new clean energy construction (enough to power nearly 90,000 homes).

The report also concludes expanded regional energy cooperation is vital to maintaining the reliability of California’s energy system, with benefits including:

Read the full National Renewable Energy Laboratory report here.

Renewable clean energy - Engineer people working with digital tablet at wind farm - Soft focus on woman face