CA Energy Policy Developments

Jun 3, 2012 by

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Today’s Bright Spot:

CA Energy Policy Developments

California Sets Stronger Energy Efficiency Rules for Buildings

The California Energy Commission voted 4 to 0 to approve new energy efficiency standards for buildings in California. The rules, which kick in on January 1, 2014, would reduce wasted energy in heating, cooling and lighting 25% over current standards for new homes and approximately 30% for commercial structures. Over the next 30 years, the new standards are estimated to save energy equal to the output of six modern natural-gas-fired power plants, saving enough electricity to run 1.7 million homes.

Read more here.

California Feed-in Tariff for Poor Communities Passes Assembly

The “Solar for All” bill (AB 1990), which would create a feed-in tariff to make solar accessible to the poor and disadvantaged, passed the California Assembly by a vote of 49-27, and has been sent to the Senate. This is the first time in North America that advocates for the poor and disadvantaged have called for equal opportunity to develop renewable energy through the use of feed-in tariffs. Introduced by Paul Fong (D-Cupertino), he says the legislation would create jobs and build “cleaner, safer, and healthier neighborhoods.”

Read more here.

CA Clean Energy Investments

Altamont Pass Celebrates ‘Repowering’ of Wind Farm

The Altamont Pass region in eastern Alameda and Contra Costa counties is home to one of the nation’s oldest wind farms, first developed in the 1970s. State energy officials, local officials and wind developers gathered at the site to celebrate completion of the first phase of NextEra’s massive “repowering” project, which is expected to drastically reduce the number of birds killed by turbines each year. In the next four years, it will replace nearly 2,000 of the 4,000 wind turbines it has at the site, many of which are nearly 30 years old, with about 100 huge state-of-the-art turbines.

Read more here.

California Energy Commission Awards $35 Million for Alternative Fuels Development

The California Energy Commission unanimously approved funding of $35,031,310 to projects that will accelerate the development of green fuels and technology through the Energy Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. Award recipients include Propel Biofuels, Inc. in Redwood City, SacPort Biofuels Corp. in West Sacramento, Springboard Biodiesel, LLC in Chico, and Whole Energy Pacifica LLC’s plant in Richmond.

Read more here.

Solar Mosaic Raises $2.5 Million Series A To Be The “Kickstarter For Solar”

Solar Mosaic, an Oakland-based startup that is creating a crowdfunding platform specifically for solar energy projects, has taken on $2.5 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Spring Ventures with the participation of Serious Change, Jim Sandler, Steve Wolf, Tom Chi, and a group of angels from the “Toniic” investor network. Solar Mosaic says it wants to be the “Kickstarter for solar” — enabling people to invest their own money into solar energy projects large and small.

Read more here.

Alturas Plans to Install 136 LED Streetlights

The City of Alturas has applied for supplemental funding to install a second round of LED streetlight fixtures on city streets. City officials submitted a grant application to the California Energy Commission for $56,085. The awards are funded by a grant from the US Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program.  The proposed project is expected to save an additional 17,516 kilowatt-hours of electricity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six tons.

Read more here.

Other CA Energy News

Fourteen Programs Show Carbon Trade Taking Off

New carbon programs in at least 14 emerging nations from China to Costa Rica show emissions trading may take off even as U.S. lawmakers focus on non-market-based regulations for climate protection. Seven countries including Mexico and Indonesia are considering emissions-crediting systems, five mull domestic carbon markets while India and South Africa are studying their own plans. Besides the European Union program, the world’s biggest by traded volume, developed nations and their states have started or plan at least eight greenhouse-gas markets from California to Japan.

Read more here.

Summary of Active Legislation

As of May 30, 2012. Legislative updates occur every Wednesday.

Senate Bills:

SB 1122    (Rubio D)   Energy: renewable biomass and biogas projects.
Status:  From committee: Do pass as amended. (Ayes 7. Noes 0.) Ordered to third reading.
Summary: This bill would require the Public Utilities Commission to adopt a methodology, by June 1, 2014, that accounts for the benefits to ratepayers and the environment from reducing air pollution and global warming emissions by generating electricity from specified sources of biogas and biomass.

SB 1128    (Padilla D)   Energy: alternative energy financing.
Location: Senate Third Reading.
Summary: This bill would temporarily expand the sales and use tax exemption under the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority (CAEATFA) program to include “advanced manufacturing.”

SB 1222    (Leno D)   Solar energy: permits.
Status: Read second time and amended. Ordered to third reading.
Summary: Currently it is the policy of the state to limit obstacles to the use of solar energy systems. This bill would require permit fees for rooftop solar energy systems, as specified by region, not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service. Unless specified conditions are met, the fee cannot exceed $400 or $400 and $5 per kilowatt for each kilowatt above 15 kW.

SB 1455    (Kehoe D)   Alternative fuels.
Location: Senate Second Reading.
Summary: This bill would require the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, in partnership with the Air Resources Board, to measure the progress of alternative fuel use. The commission and state board would be required to biannually report the implementation status of alternative fuel goals and continuously evaluate how new and existing investment programs could be used to increase alternative fuel use in California.

Assembly Bills:

AB 1532    (John A. Pérez D)   California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account.
Status: In Senate. Read first time. To Committee on Rules for assignment.
Summary: This bill would create the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account. All funds deposited in this account would be collected pursuant to a market-based compliance mechanism and allocated to specific measures and programs. Every three years the state board would be required to draft an investment plan for review, and would annually report to the Legislature on project statuses and recommended changes.

AB 1900    (Gatto D)   Renewable energy resources: biomethane.
Status: Read second time. Ordered to third reading.
Summary: This bill would require the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to identify all constituents of landfill gas found in a common carrier pipeline that could adversely impact public health and safety. The PUC would be required to develop testing protocols to determine if constituents are found in excess levels. This bill would prohibit a gas producer from knowingly selling, supplying, transporting, or purchasing gas collected from a hazardous waste landfill.

AB 2135    (Blumenfield D)   Building standards: solar distributed generation technology on residential and commercial property.
Status: Referred to Committees on Transportation & Housing and Governmental Organization.
Summary: This bill would require the California Building Standards Commission, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the State Fire Marshal to cooperate in developing a model ordinance and guidelines. This would assist local agencies to develop building standards and permitting processes for solar distributed generation technology on residential and commercial property, and require they post the model ordinance and guidelines online.

AB 2165    (Hill D)   Net energy metering: eligible fuel cell customer-generators.
Status: Referred to Committee on Energy, Utilities & Communications.
Summary: This bill would redefine the term “eligible fuel-cell customer-generator,” as well as require the electrical corporation to change the way it caps fuel cell generation. The bill would increase the net metering cap for fuel cells from a statewide 112.5 megawatts (MW) to one percent of the aggregate customer peak demand in any electrical utility’s service territory, or roughly 500 MW statewide. The bill would require the commission to authorize an electrical corporation to charge a customer a fee based on the cost to the utility associated with providing interconnection inspection services for that customer.

AB 2196    (Chesbro D)   Renewable energy resources.
Status: In Senate. To Committee on Rules for assignment.
Summary: This bill would provide specific conditions as a part of the eligibility requirement for the Renewable Portfolio Standard program. Conditions would be based on the use of landfill gas, digester gas, or another renewable fuel delivered to the facility through a common carrier pipeline; the transaction, including the source of the fuel and delivery method, shall meet certain requirements.

AB 2514    (Bradford D)   Net energy metering.
Status: From committee: Do pass. (Ayes 17. Noes 0.) Ordered to third reading.
Summary: This bill would require the Public Utilities Commission to complete a study. The purpose of the study is to determine the extent to which ratepayers and different regions in the state are receiving services under the net energy metering tariff and paying the full cost of the services provided to them by electrical corporations. The bill would require the commission to report the results of the study to the Legislature within 30 days of its completion; the report would be due by June 20, 2013.

AB 2583    (Blumenfield D)   Alternatively fueled vehicles: state fleet: public parking.
Status: From committee: Do pass. (Ayes 12. Noes 5.) Ordered to third reading.
Summary: This bill would require the Department of General Services to purchase alternative fuel vehicles to encourage the development and operation of commercial infrastructure for alternative fuel pumps and charging stations. The goal is to incentivize and promote the operation of alternative fuel vehicles by state employees through preferential or reduced-cost parking, access to charging, or other means.


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