County Renewable Energy Plans are Key to Meeting State and Federal Climate and Clean Energy Goals

The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP), a major component of California's renewable energy planning efforts, will help provide effective protection and conservation of desert ecosystems while allowing for the appropriate development of renewable energy projects.

The DRECP is focused on the desert regions and adjacent lands of seven California counties - Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego.

In 2011, to help align federal, state and local renewable energy and conservation planning efforts, the Energy Commission was authorized to provide up to $7 million in Renewable Energy Conservation Planning Grants (RECPG) to counties that develop or update rules and policies facilitating the development of eligible renewable energy resources, including their associated transmission facilities and the processing of permits. Grants were available to a legislative prescribed list of counties including the seven counties in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area. The legislature amended the statute in 2012 to expand the list of counties to include San Luis Obispo and reauthorize the distribution of grant funds.

Five of the seven DRECP counties, as well as San Luis Obispo County, applied for and received grants from the Energy Commission. Each county signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Energy Commission agreeing to plan for and promote renewable energy development that advances county and state renewable energy policies and initiatives. The county planning efforts are critical to the successful completion of Phase II of the DRECP.