We now address the remaining matters identified in the January 12, 2010 Assigned Commissioner's Scoping Memo.
12.1. Natural Gas Vehicles
The January 12, 2010 Assigned Commissioner's Scoping Memo included natural gas vehicle (NGV) issues in the scope of this proceeding in recognition of the fact that such vehicles play an important role in the Commission's overall goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission understands that the need may exist to reconsider policy to enhance NGV market development.
In this rulemaking, Clean Energy argued that the Commission should initiate a periodic, perhaps biennial, statewide Alternative-Fueled Vehicle (AFV) proceeding similar to the Low Emissions Vehicle Proceeding that was in place during the 1990s and continued until 2005. Clean Energy argued that the current approach of considering NGV issues in General Rate Cases and Biennial Cost Allocation Proceedings does not allow the Commission to develop consistent statewide policy, which results in NGV issues receiving less attention from senior utility management. (Clean Energy November 12, 2010 comments at 6-7.)
We agree with Clean Energy that existing proceedings fail to provide a comprehensive forum for reviewing and implementing statewide rules that could facilitate increased NGV market development. We remain open to conducting a workshop to examine the current status of NGV and alternative fuel vehicles and do not foreclose the possibility of a separate rulemaking on these issues.
12.2. Low Carbon Fuel Standard
At its April 23, 2009 public hearing, the California Air Resources Board adopted the California Code of Regulations, Title 17, §§ 95480, 95480.1, 95481, 95482, 95483, 95484, 95485, 95486, 95487, 95488, 95489, and 95490. The approved sections comprise a regulation for implementing the Low Carbon Fuel Standards. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulations apply to any transportation fuel, as defined in the regulation, which includes electricity used as a transportation fuel. The scope of this Commission proceeding does not include a review of the Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulations themselves but the January 12, 2010 Assigned Commissioner's Scoping Memo indicated that we would consider addressing the disposition of any revenues that utilities receive from the sale of Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits. On March 30, 2011, the Commission opened a proceeding, R.11-03-012, to address utility cost and revenue issues associated with greenhouse gas emissions. The Commission's stated in this proceeding that a primary focus will be "the use of revenues that electric utilities may receive from the sale of Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits they may receive from the California Air Resources Board (ARB)."41 As this issue is being expressly considered in R.11-03-012, we do not address it here.
12.3. Impact of Electric Vehicles on Greenhouse Gas and Renewable Energy Policy
As the January 12, 2010 Assigned Commissioner's Scoping Memo noted, Pub. Util. Code § 740.2(f) requires the Commission to consider what impact the widespread use of Electric Vehicles could have on the state's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and renewable portfolio standard program and whether steps should be taken to address the "shifting of emissions reductions responsibilities from the transportation sector to the electrical industry." The Scoping Memo suggested that we may determine that any specific recommendations or rules are best considered and adopted in a Commission proceeding that is specifically focused on greenhouse gas policy or the renewable portfolio standard.
We affirm the suggestion in the Scoping Memo. Given the early stage of the Electric Vehicle market, any conclusions concerning whether or how increased penetration of Electric Vehicles requires changes to greenhouse gas or renewable portfolio standard policies would be speculative and premature. More importantly, we find that the shifting of emissions reductions responsibilities from the transportation sector to the electrical industry should be examined in a broader context. Therefore, we conclude that this issue should be addressed through the broader greenhouse gas and renewable energy forums, which could include ongoing or future proceedings at the Commission or at the California Air Resources Board.
41 R.11-03-012 Order Instituting Rulemaking at 2.