Oct. 6, 2017 – – This legislative session saw the introduction of 2,980 bills. Of those 1,294 bills made it to the Governor’s desk, where approximately 600 still wait for action before the October 15th deadline. While this was a very productive legislative session, several bills attempting to accelerate the Renewable Portfolio Standard or add fairness to the energy procurement process failed to make it to the Governor.
The Almond Alliance worked diligently with a coalition of biomass and bioenergy producers to support AB 920 (Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, D-Napa). This measure addressed baseload electric generation facilities (biomass and geothermal) and requires the California Public Utilities Commission to determine what types of generation resources investor owned utilities are required to procure. Publicly owned utilities would be required to make the same assessment. The bill attempted to ensure a specific level of baseload energy production was from these sources. Over significant advocacy from the Investor Owned Utilities and wind and solar producers, the bill was held in appropriations committee and became a two year bill.
SB 100 (Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles) would have required sellers of electricity to procure a minimum of 60 percent of their electricity products from eligible renewable-generation resources by 2030; currently, they must procure 50 percent by 2030. In addition, the bill set aspirational goals of meeting 100 percent of retail sales of electricity with eligible renewable generation and zero-carbon resources by 2045. The bill further required all state agencies to plan for 100% carbon free energy by 2045, which made entities that receive water from the State Water Project nervous since they have energy resources contracted beyond 2045. The bill was held on the Assembly floor and is a two year bill.
SB 49 (Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles; Henry Stern, D-Agoura Hills) would require California to enforce the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and their implementing regulations and policies as were in place on January 19, 2017. If it was determined that the federal government had weakened any of those laws, California agencies would be required to adopt regulations, with extremely limited public input, to be at least as stringent as what was in place on January 19, 2017. Additionally, the bill would create a private right of action in state law for citizen enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and ESA if the citizen suit provisions were removed from these federal laws or any of those laws were “weakened.” It remained in the Assembly Rules Committee because it did not have the necessary votes to pass, but will be eligible for another vote when the Legislature returns in January.
AB 813 and AB 726 (Holden) were two bills that were “gutted and amended” in the last two weeks of the session that intended to be vehicles to push the Investor Owned Utilities to accelerate procurement of renewables in order to take advantage of the expiring federal tax credit and to incorporate the Governor’s preferred approach to regionalization. AB 813 and AB 726 became essentially the same bills as the end of session neared. Ultimately, all energy entities expressed strong opposition and both bills were held in the Senate Energy Committee.