CPX Mid-Recess Legislative Update – December 12, 2019

Hi Folks!

We hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

In the interest of gearing up for what is shaping up to be a dynamic 2020 legislative session, we offer this mid-recess assessment and overview.

The most exciting news for The Climate Center and our Clean Power Exchange Program is that we have secured a political consultant to work with us in 2020 to help advance our legislative agenda, defend against threats to our interests, and in general, to increase our presence in Sacramento. We look forward to a lot more engagement with all of the many stakeholders engaging on Advanced Community Energy policy in California in 2020.

The legislature will reconvene on Monday, January 6. Several bills that have bearing on Community Choice Energy or Climate were held over from the 2019 session. This includes:

AB 56 (Garcia) OPPOSE – This bill will empower the CPUC to order energy procurement based on real or perceived shortcomings in the Integrated Resource Plan submitted by Investor Owned Utilities, Direct Access providers, and CCAs. The bill will allow the CPUC to require procurement on any perceived deficiency that may be 10 to 12 years out in the future. This makes no sense, given that so much lead time would allow a CCA to address any potential problem. Read the Center’s updated July Letter of Opposition.

AB 235 (Mayes) – Now dubbed the “Catastrophic Wildfire Liability Recovery Act,” this bill will allow PG&E to issue bonds to cover 2017, 2018 wildfire liabilities that ratepayers could ultimately have to pay for, and allows the CPUC to arbitrarily set a limit on the amount a transmission & distribution utility must pay as a result of catastrophic wildfire that may have been the result of their infrastructure. It is essentially a defense of status quo corporate utility dominance.

SB 246 (Wieckowski) – Read our Support Letter. – This bill, if enacted as written, will impose an oil and gas severance tax on the privilege of extracting oil or fossil gas from the earth or water in California upon any operator engaged in such extraction.

SB 350 (Hertzberg) OPPOSE – This bill would “authorize the CPUC to consider a multiyear centralized resource adequacy mechanism,” meaning, a central buyer, which would encroach on CCA statutory authority on procurement autonomy. This bill was a tandem bill with AB 56.

SB 378 (Wiener): Would establish ratepayer protections related to Public Safety Power Shutoff incidents.

SB 386 (Caballero) – Read our Letter of Opposition. This bill would allow Turlock, Modesto, and Merced Irrigation Districts to count their large hydro assets (dams) toward their Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) obligations. This would significantly impact progress with new renewables. These Irrigation Districts will already be able to count their dams as carbon-free pursuant to state policy on decarbonization and mechanisms are in place to protect low-income communities from any cost burdens.

SB-772 (Bradford) – OPPOSE – This bill relates to procurement of long duration bulk energy storage. Would require CAISO to procure 2,000MW of long-duration energy storage projects by 2022. Concerns center on forcing the hand of CCA procurement. Likely oppose.

SB 774 (Stern) – SB 774 would require IOUs to collaborate with the State’s Office of Emergency of Services and others to identify where back-up electricity sources may provide increased electrical distribution grid resiliency and would allow the IOUs to file applications with the CPUC to invest in, and deploy, microgrids to increase resiliency. Concerns focus on too much control being placed in the hands of the IOUs over microgrid development when other LSEs and stakeholders can and should play a role.

We do expect many more bills relating to Community Choice, electricity system resilience, microgrids, and other related issues to emerge. So expect a lively 2020 session.

Till then,

Happy Holidays from the CPX Team!


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