Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday urged Southern California Edison to expedite interconnection agreements with national parks and forests, where renewable energy projects have been sitting idle for years while federal agencies wrangle with the utility.
In a letter to SCE President Ronald L. Litzinger, Boxer chastised the utility for delaying projects that were intended to reduce electric bills at national park and forest facilities.
The letter was in response to a Times story this week that detailed a number of renewable projects caught in the impasse. Boxer’s letter read in part, “Many of these projects have been waiting to connect to the electric grid for at least two and a half years. It is unacceptable that renewable energy projects that could save taxpayers money have been allowed to sit idle for so long.”
Dozens of solar energy facilities, among them projects at Death Valley and in the Santa Monica Mountains, have been waiting to be connected to the grid while the agencies hash out a contract. At issue is a federal prohibition against assuming future liability, but utilities elsewhere in the state have come to terms.
Federal agencies have a mandate to reduce their carbon footprint, and SCE, like all California utilities, is operating under a similar deadline to derive more power from renewable sources.