Title: California Energy Commission: Siting and Environmental Division Records
California Energy Commission
California State Archives
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[Identification of item], California Energy Commission: Siting and Environmental Division Records, F3912, California State
The California Energy Commission was created in 1974 pursuant to the Warren-Alquist State Energy Resources Conservation and
Development Act (Stats. 1974, ch. 276). Prior to the development of the Commission, utilities wanting to construct an energy
facility faced a fragmented and lengthy siting process that necessitated authorization of local, state, and federal agencies.
Beginning in the mid 1960s the Resources Agency assumed the duties of determining acceptability of proposed sites and coordinating
the activities of state agencies connected to the siting process. The changing environmental laws at the state and federal
levels and the need for a formalized siting process prompted the Legislature to introduce several siting bills beginning in
the 1970 session. In response to the oil shortage of 1973, the Governor signed A.B. 1575 (1974) into law, which consolidated
the operations of energy forecasting, conservation, development, and siting within a single agency.
The California Energy Commission consists of five members appointed by the Governor for staggered five-year terms, with one
member designated as chair. Four of the five members must have backgrounds in specific fields -- environmental sciences, economics,
engineering, and law, while one is from the public at large.
The Energy Commission is responsible for the assessment, development, and conservation of energy and energy resources in the
state, and it is empowered with the authority to certify all sites and related energy generating facilities. Using data supplied
by utilities concerning projected supply and demand of electricity in their service areas, the Commission forecasts the state's
short and long-term energy requirements. It will also assess trends in the consumption of electricity and other forms of energy,
and it examines the impact of energy development on California's social, economic, and environmental structure. The Commission
conducts research and funds development of alternative energy sources and improved methods for the design, construction, and
operation of energy facilities. Conservation activities focus on the regulation of the growth rate of energy use in the state.
The Commission carries out a program to reduce uneconomic and inefficient consumption of energy, and it establishes regulations
for appliance efficiency, building insulation, and the operation of power plants. The Commission also takes action on applications
for proposed facilities, and certifies sites and facilities after an extensive review process.
As of 1989 the Commission consisted of five divisions: Administrative Services; Energy Forecasting and Planning; Energy Efficiency
and Local Assistance; Energy Technology and Development; and Energy Facilities Siting and Environmental Protection.