(Last update – May 10, 2021)
We are well into the first half of the 2021 legislative season, and all initial bills have been submitted. We are doing an on-going assessment of which bills will do the most and have the best chance of getting where we want to go on clean energy, with the 350 Bay Area Action Legislative Team. Last year’s session was a dramatically scaled down version with much of the concern having been on the budget for the state, due to lack of tax revenue from COVID. Only a few bills that legislators started last year with were even allowed to go forward. “Clean Energy”, per se, was not focused in 2020, or, for that matter, climate related bills in general. This year there seems to be a lot more bills and more more awareness of how far behind we got over the last 4 years as well as the potential for change under the Biden administration. 350 Bay Area Action is currently choosing 7-8 bills in the “clean energy” area (which includes building decarbonization this year) to endorse.
Those we think are good bills, as they stand now, are:
SB 99 Community Energy Resilience Act of 2021 (Dodd) which Implements a grant program for local governments to develop community energy resilience plans which microgrids. SB 345 (Becker) Energy Programs and Benefits: Non-energy Benefits, which would eventually require CPUC to establish common definitions of nonenergy benefits, prioritize support for some distributed energy resource programs but prohibit cost-shifting of nonenergy benefits to nonparticipating customers. AB 525 Energy: Offshore Wind Generation (Chiu) which would start planning for 10 GW of offshore wind by 2040, interim goal of 3 GW by 2030, plan by 2022. SB 31 (Cortese) has been called the “Decarbonization Programs Act” it would develop new building decarbonization programs through the California Energy Commission and the Public Utilities Commission, with a particular emphasis on providing opportunities for low income customers. Amendment has seriously weakened the definition to “decarbonization” to “some” rather than completely. SB 32 Energy:General Plan: Building Decarbonization requirements: (Cortese) requires cities and counties to update their general plans with targets, objectives and policies to decarbonize newly constructed buildings. Because two bills we were happy about have been made 2 year bills so won’t be considered until next year, one more was added to those we are suggesting you pay attention to. AB 427 (Bauer-Kahan) Electricity: resource adequacy requirements. Bill is requiring the CPUC to establish important resource adequacy type of energy value for behind the meter storage (so helps promote roof-top solar paired with storage).
There is one more that 350 Bay Area Action Opposes which is AB 1139: (Gonzalzes and Carillo) Net Energy Metering. Bill was just amended now to just focus on the worst part of it, from our point of view. It would completely undermine roof-top solar in California, even undermining the CPUC’s process of coming to a decision about what to do about it in their current rulemaking by requiring a monthly fee and requiring both current and future adopters to fall under that requirement while also decreasing dramatically any reimbursement for adopters get for providing energy to the grid.
There are others that we are watching closely and we continue to try to find a place for legislature approved language relating to asking the CPUC to coordinate what changes there needs to be in Transmission Access Charge reform whci you can learn more about on Clean Coalition’s site HERE
See 350 Bay Area Action for more information on all bills that 350 BAA has taken a stand on.
In the state legislature in 2019, there were a few bills that this campaign had been watching closely and taking positions on that were important for the future of Clean Energy in the state and locally. They were mostly bills that affect Community Choice Energy and had gone through a process of being amended and required close monitoring. Our campaign’s discussion of bills occurred mostly in regular meetings of 350 Bay Area Action’s Legislative Committee. Supporting legislation to raise the threshold for how much electricity in California must come from renewable sources and stopping legislation that tries to hamper Community Choice Energy, a very effective way to increase the pace of development of local, renewable energy, are high priorities of this campaign and complements our work on similar issues in rule-makings at the CPUC.
In 2018, of course, there was SB 100 (sets a goal for the state of reaching 100% clean energy for electricity by 2045) which was former President Pro Tem Senator Kevin De Leon’s bill from 2017. In late August of 2018, it passed the Assembly, barely, right at the end of the legislative session, which was all it needed to do at that point after having passed the Senate in 2017. And then just before the Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Brown signed it into law, making Hawaii and California the only two states with that goal signed into law. This bill was a high priority of the Legislative Team and many in 350 Bay Area Action worked hard on this. It was a focus of the Clean Energy/Clean Air Campaign of 350 Bay Area to educate people about it, but also of everyone in 350 Bay Area Action working on legislation. And there were so many other organizations also working on it. Here is the website where you can still see by clicking on “supporters” at the top and scrolling down, all the groups that were pushing for SB100 to pass: https://ca100.org/ .
Please consider getting involved with us this year. If interested, send an email to Ken Jones at Ken@350BayArea.org.