California’s Permitting Issues Need Fixes to Progress in Clean-Energy Transition

California will have to fix the issues plaguing its permitting processes before the state’s green-energy transition can make major progress. With 28% of California’s electricity coming from wind and solar, an increase from 14% in 2015, the Golden State has made major strides in clean-energy generation over the past decade.

However, California still isn’t getting this renewable energy onto the grid fast enough. The state has a power-generation capacity of 88 gigawatts (GW) and needs to add 7–8 GW of capacity every year over the next two decades to meet its energy transition goals. Unfortunately, the state has averaged a little under 4GW annually over the last four years.

Long wait times in the permitting process are currently one of the main bottlenecks in California’s race to replace fossil fuel-fired power with renewables. Depending on the location, project developers may have to acquire different levels of local, state and federal permits before they can begin developing green-energy infrastructure such as solar and wind. If a project needs several permits to get off the ground, a lead agency will coordinate with other relevant agencies.

Renewable projects that use federal funds, cross Indigenous or federal lands, and potentially impact air and water quality as well as protected environments will need to go through the federal permitting process. These projects go through the environment review process set forth by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

At the state level, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) also outlines the environmental review process for projects with a physical impact on the environment. This review considers the project’s impact on water, noise and air quality coupled with its impact on mineral, cultural and agricultural resources. While California’s environmental review is slightly more rigorous and broader than NEPA, they share many similarities.

Depending on whether they are installed, some projects may also have to acquire permits from additional state agencies. If a green-energy project gets past this stage, it will need further permits at the local level. Some localities have taken to banning clean-energy infrastructure or putting up barriers to their deployment, adding another layer of frustration for green-energy projects.

The result is layer after layer of bureaucracy that often slows down the development of renewable infrastructure and makes it difficult for the state to meet its green-energy plans on time. While these permitting processes are critical to ensuring projects with minimal environmental impact are pushed forward, their slow pace is counterproductive to California’s goal of producing 60% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

These regulatory and bureaucratic hurdles aside, extraction companies such as First Tellurium Corp. (CSE: FTEL) (OTCQB: FSTTF) are working to ensure that there are adequate supplies of critical metals that are instrumental in the green-energy transition, such as tellurium. In this way, manufacturers will not lack the materials they need to ramp up production as demand skyrockets in the way projections suggest it will.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to First Tellurium Corp. (CSE: FTEL) (OTCQB: FSTTF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/FSTTF

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