Today, the California Public Utilities Commission released a proposed decision denying San Diego Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Gas Company’s planned $2 billion dirty gas pipeline.
The proposed project would have saddled customers in the region with higher energy bills at a time when clean energy alternatives are dramatically reducing the need for new, costly fossil fuel infrastructure. The Administrative Law Judge’s historic decision recognizes the role that clean energy solutions and the state’s climate policy have played in rendering new fossil fuel infrastructure obsolete. The proposed decision concludes that the utilities “... have not shown why it is necessary to build a very costly pipeline to substantially increase gas pipeline capacity in an era of declining demand and at a time when the state of California is moving away from fossil fuels.”
The decision reflects the reality that gas consumption in California is both a threat to our climate goals and, because of effective programs like the Renewable Portfolio Standard and energy efficiency initiatives, declining rapidly.
“First gas plants, and now gas pipelines are falling to the wayside. California is clearly on a path to a brighter energy future, and doesn’t have time or money to spare investing in outdated fossil fuel infrastructure,” said Matt Vespa, staff attorney at Earthjustice on the Right to Zero campaign. “This $2 billion pipeline would have been built on the backs of San Diego families who would have paid for it until 2063. Thankfully, the Public Utilities Commission has weighed in with a commonsense decision to say ‘no’ to pipeline 3602.”
“Today, the CPUC affirmed clearly that the role of fracked gas in our economy is fading away,” said Alison Seel, Associate Attorney for the Sierra Club. “Years of progress on energy efficiency and renewable generation are reducing the role of gas power plants, and our state’s climate policies make clear we’re not turning back. This historic decision recognizes that the pipeline would have been a stranded asset from its first day of operation. The decisions we make on energy infrastructure today will shape our ability to fight climate change in the decades to come. We applaud the CPUC for this forward thinking decision.”
The proposed decision will be voted on by the full Commission as soon as next month.