In our first post, the Stoel Rives’ Energy Team provided a summary of energy related bills introduced by California legislators during the first half of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. Provided below is a summary of changes to bills we have been following, as well as a list of energy related bills not included in our previous entry. We will continue to monitor and update all energy related bills as the legislative session proceeds.

Amended Bills

AB 35 (Quirk, D): Residential and nonresidential buildings: energy savings program.  
STATUS: Introduced December 15, 2016;
amended March 23, 2017.

  • AB 35 was previously drafted to require agencies implementing energy efficiency programs to establish metrics and collect and use data systematically across those programs to increase the performance of those programs in low-income communities.
    • As amended, AB 35 now proposes changing the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission’s program to achieve greater energy savings in California’s existing residential and nonresidential building stock by adopting an update to the program at least once every five years instead of every three years.

AB 655 (O’Donnell, D): California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program.    
STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017; amended March 23, 2017.

  • The California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program requires the CPUC to establish a renewables portfolio standard requiring all retail sellers, as defined, to procure a minimum quantity of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources, as defined, so that the total kilowatt hours of these resources sold to their retail end-use customers achieves 25 percent of retail sales by December 31, 2016, 33 percent by December 31, 2020, 40 percent by December 31, 2024, 45 percent by December 31, 2027, and 50 percent by December 31, 2030. The program additionally requires each local publicly owned electric utility, as defined, to procure a minimum quantity of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources to achieve the procurement requirements established by the program. Further, existing law provides that a facility engaged in the combustion of municipal solid waste is not an eligible renewable energy resource, except as regards to generation before January 1, 2017, from a facility located in Stanislaus County prior to September 26, 1996.
    • This bill would provide that a facility engaged in the transformation of municipal solid waste is an eligible renewable energy resource, and can earn renewable energy credits, if it operates, on an annual basis, at not less than 20 percent below the permitted emissions of air contaminants, or toxic air contaminants concentration limits, for the facility and the operator of the facility has reported its emissions to the applicable air pollution control district or air quality management district for a period of not less than five years, as specified.

AB 881 (Gallagher, R): Property taxation: new construction exclusion: methane digester.    
STATUS: Introduced February 16, 2017; amended March 27, 2017.

  • After amendments, AB 881 now contains a “new construction exclusion” for property tax purposes for methane digesters. The California Constitution generally limits taxes on real property to one percent of the full cash value of that property. For purposes of this limitation, “full cash value” is defined as the assessor’s valuation of real property as shown on the 1975-76 tax bill under “full cash value” or, thereafter, the appraised value of that real property when purchased, newly constructed, or a change in ownership has occurred.
    • This bill would exclude from classification as “newly constructed” and “new construction” the construction or addition, on or after January 1, 2018, of a methane digester or methane digester electric generating system. By imposing new duties upon county assessors, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

AB 914 (Mullin, D): Transmission planning: energy storage and demand response.
STATUS: Introduced February 16, 2017;
amended March 20, 2017.

  • Originally, AB 914 would require the CPUC, in its participation in the ISO’s transmission planning process, to promote the consideration of the use of energy storage systems and demand response as means to address the state’s transmission needs before the use of transmission wires. After amendments, the language of “energy storage systems and demand response” has been replaced with “nonwire alternatives” as a means to address the state’s transmission needs before the use of “traditional transmission assets or infrastructure.” The newly added term “nonwire alternatives” is defined to include, but is not limited to, either of the following:
    • network optimization with advanced technologies that enable the transmission owner or operator to optimize the operation of the existing electrical grid with hardware and software technologies, including, but not limited to, power flow control, dynamic line rating, phasor measurement units, and energy storage; and
    • non-transmission alternatives that reduce the need for new transmission capacity, including, but not limited to, demand response, distribution generation, energy efficiency, electrical and thermal storage, and load management.

AB 1030 (Ting, D): Energy storage systems.
STATUS: Introduced February 16, 2017;
amended March 30, 2017.

  • Rather than requiring the CPUC “to establish a program to incentivize residential and commercial customers to adopt energy storage systems,” this bill is amended to more specifically require the CPUC to “establish 4 energy policy goals of the state with respect to energy storage and would require the CPUC, on behalf of electrical corporations, and require the governing board, on behalf of a local publicly owned electric utility, to undertake specified actions with respect to customer- and load-sited energy storage systems in order to achieve those energy policy goals, including a rebate program dedicated to energy storage that carves out a portion of funding for low-income customers and disadvantaged communities.”

SB 356 (Skinner, D): Energy data transparency.
STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017;
amended March 23, 2017.

  • No longer a bill about energy storage systems, SB 356 was reinvented and amended as an energy data transparency bill. This bill now requires that by June 1, 2018, the CPUC and the California Energy Commission make available electronically to the public certain information, including, among other things, pricing data for electricity, on a single Internet Web page. The bill would require a load-serving entity to provide pricing data electronically to either the CPUC or the Energy Commission, as provided, within three months after a change in its rates.

SB 366 (Leyva, D):Electrical corporations: Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program. STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017; amended April 3, 2017.

  • The Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program requires an electrical corporation with 100,000 or more customers in California to file with the CPUC an application requesting approval of a tariff to implement a program enabling ratepayers to participate directly in offsite electrical generation facilities that use eligible renewable energy resources, consistent with certain legislative findings and statements of intent. An electrical corporation is not required to offer the program once the nameplate rated generating capacity serving customers participating in the program reaches the utility’s proportionate share of a statewide limitation of 600 megawatts.
    • This bill would increase the 600 megawatt statewide limitation to 800 megawatts and would require that a minimum of 300 megawatts be reserved for disadvantaged communities identified pursuant to a specified law.

Newly Added Energy Related Bills

The bills summarized below were previously introduced prior to the February 17, 2017 deadline, but subsequently gutted and amended to include energy related topics. We will continue to track the new versions of these bills as they continue through the legislative process.

AB 634 (Eggman, D) Real property; solar energy systems.  
STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017; amended March 23, 2017.

Previously a bill related to employment agencies, now AB 634 specifies that:

  • an association may not prohibit the installation or use of a rooftop solar energy system for household purposes on the roof of the building in which the owner resides;
  • an association may not require approval of the membership of the association in those circumstances; and
  • requires that the approval process for associations to include a requirement that an applicant notify each owner of units in the building on which the installation will be located of the application to install a solar energy system and to ensure equal allocation of usable solar space.

AB 1070 (Gonzalez Fletcher, D) Solar energy systems: contracts: disclosures.  
STATUS: Introduced February 17, 2017; amended April 17, 2017.

  • Originally introduced as making non-substantive changes to the Business and Professions Code as related to contractors in the State, AB 1070 was completely overhauled on March 30 made specific changes related to solar energy systems, contracts and disclosures. Existing law requires licensed contractors to be classified and authorizes them to be classified as, among other things, a solar contractor by the Contractors’ State License Board (the “Board”).
  • This bill would require:
    • the Board, on or before July 1, 2018, to develop and make available on its Internet Web site a specified “solar energy system disclosure document”;
    • the disclosure document to be provided by the solar energy systems company to the consumer prior to completion of a sale, financing, or lease of a solar energy system, and that it, and the contract, be written in the same language as was principally used in the sales presentation and marketing material;
    • the Department of Consumer Affairs to receive and resolve complaints and consumer questions, and complaints received from state agencies, regarding solar energy systems companies and solar contractors; and
    • the Department of Consumer Affairs annually to compile a report documenting the number, types, and locations of complaints it received relating to solar energy systems companies and solar contractors that it will make available publicly on the department’s and the Public Utility Commission’s Internet Web site.
  • The impact would be higher scrutiny on sales and marketing of behind the meter solar systems.

AB 1400 (Friedman, D): Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program and Electric Program Investment Charge program: microgrid projects: diesel backup generators.    
STATUS: Introduced February 17, 2017; amended March 28, 2017.

  • AB 1400 was originally introduced as a bill related to migratory birds and urban wildlife. However, on March 28, the bill was completely revised.  Existing law creates in the State Treasury the Electric Program Investment Charge Fund to be administered by the Energy Commission and requires the CPUC to forward to the Energy Commission at least quarterly moneys for those EPIC programs the CPUC has determined should be administered by the Energy Commission for deposit in the fund. Additionally, existing law requires the Energy Commission to develop, implement, and administer the Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program to provide support for a full range of research, development, and demonstration activities to advance energy science or technologies that, as determined by the Energy Commission, are not adequately provided for by competitive and regulated energy markets.
    • This bill would prohibit recipients of moneys awarded under the above two programs from expending those moneys for the purchase of diesel generators.

AB 1531 (Berman, D): Public agency renewable energy self-generation program.      
STATUS: Introduced February 17, 2017; amended March 28, 2017.

  • Initially introduced as a minor amendment to a existing language in the Public Utilities Code, AB 1531 was comprehensively modified to address public agency renewable energy self-generation. Specifically, current law authorizes a local governmental entity, which, except for the individual campuses of the University of California, does not include the state or any of its agencies or departments, to receive a bill credit to a designated benefiting account for electricity exported by the local government to the electrical grid by a specific type of renewable generating facility and requires the Public Utilities Commission to adopt a rate tariff for the benefiting account. This program is known as the local government renewable energy self-generation program.
  • AB 1531 would:
    • change the reference to the program to the public agency renewable energy self-generation program and would make state agencies and departments eligible for the program;
    • eliminate the maximum generating capacity for a renewable energy generating facility to be eligible for inclusion under the program;
    • require that a renewable energy generating facility to be within the service territory of the electrical corporation servicing the benefitting account to be eligible for the program;
    • exempt the benefitting account from delivery charges for electricity used onsite; and
    • repeal the requirement that an electrical corporation offer service or contract to provide a bill credit only until that electrical corporation reaches a certain level of generating capacity from renewable energy generating facilities eligible for the program and provides that an electrical corporation is not obligated to provide a bill credit to a benefiting account not designated by that time.

SB 71 (Wiener, D):  Electricity: solar energy systems.
STATUS:  Introduced January 9, 2017; amended March 1, 2017.

  • Originally introduced as a bill relating to the installation of solar photovoltaic systems or solar water heating systems in solar zones, SB 71 was revised and now focuses on the requirement of solar electric or solar thermal systems to be installed in the solar zone. Existing regulations on building standards require certain residential and nonresidential buildings to have a solar zone, as defined, on the roof of the building that is designated and reserved for solar electric or solar thermal systems and that meets certain specifications relating to minimum area, orientation, and shading, among other things.
  • If passed into law, SB 71 would:
    • require a solar electric or solar thermal system to be installed in the solar zone of those residential and nonresidential buildings on which construction commences on or after January 1, 2018, during that construction; and
    • authorize the California Building Standards Commission, in collaboration with the Energy Commission and other relevant state agencies, to adopt regulations to impose additional standards on solar electric and solar thermal systems on those buildings to reflect the most recent technology available.

SB 338 (Skinner, D):  Net-load peak energy.
STATUS: Introduced February 14, 2017; amended March 21, 2017.

  • Initially introduced as a bill related to clean peak reliability requirement, SB 338 was amended to address net-load peak energy. Currently, the CPUC and the Energy Commission take specified actions in furtherance of meeting the California’s clean energy and pollution reduction objectives, including taking into account opportunities to decrease costs and increase benefits using renewable and nonrenewable technologies with zero or lowest feasible emissions of greenhouse gases, criteria pollutants, and toxic air contaminants onsite.
  • SB 338 would:
    • on or before January 1, 2020, require the CPUC and Energy Commission, in consultation with the California Independent System Operator, to establish policies or procedures to ensure that electrical service providers meet net-load peak, as defined, energy and reliability needs while minimizing the use of fossil fuels and utilizing low-carbon technologies and electrical grid management strategies;
    • require the CPUC, no later than January 1, 2022, and every four years thereafter, to make a specified report to the Legislature; and
    • make a violation of an order or decision of the CPUC implementing its requirements a new crime.