Yesterday the California Supreme Court denied a petition for review of the cap-and-trade lawsuits brought by a coalition of business interests, headed by the California Chamber of Commerce and Morning Star Packing Company. The Court of Appeal decision issued in April 2017, which upheld the legality of California’s cap-and-trade auctions in the related cases California

Stoel Rives’ Energy Team has been monitoring and providing summaries of key energy-related bills introduced by California legislators since the beginning of the 2017-2018 Legislative Session. June 2, 2017 was the deadline by which the legislature was required to pass bills out of the house of origin.  Failing to meet that deadline does not automatically prevent a bill from proceeding through the legislative process; however, such failure will prevent the bill from being considered by the full legislature or the Governor during the first half of the Legislative Session.  Below is a summary of bills we have been following that have most recently changed.  We will continue to monitor and update these energy-related bills as the legislative session proceeds.

Assembly Bills

AB 79 (Levine, D): Electrical generation: hourly greenhouse gas emissions: electricity from unspecified sources.
STATUS: Ordered to Senate June 1, 2017.

  • Initially introduced as a bill to decrease the amount energy consumed from coal-fired generation resources, AB 79 was revamped to require, by January 1, 2019, the State Air Resources Board (CARB), in consultation with the Independent System Operator (ISO), to regularly update its methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources. The bill would require the CPUC and the CEC to incorporate the methodology into programs addressing the disclosure of the emissions of greenhouse gases and the procurement of electricity by entities under the respective jurisdiction of each.

Continue Reading Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

On April 6th, the energy storage market received a boost in California when state regulators authorized $196 million in new rebates for customers who install onsite (behind the meter) energy storage systems.

Background

The change occurs under the California Self Generation Incentive Program (“SGIP”). SGIP provides a financial rebate to energy customers who install new

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.

Continue Reading Updates to Energy Related Bills in the 2017-2018 California Legislative Session

In what some commentators are calling the first of its kind, Maryland’s legislature has passed a bill that would allow taxpayers to claim a state income tax credit equal to 30% of the installed cost of an energy storage system.  The bill would cap the credit amount at $75,000 for a commercial installation or $5,000

On Thursday, a 2-1 decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento upheld California’s program to reduce carbon emissions. California’s controversial and signature cap-and-trade program creates a firm limit on carbon emissions and auctions allowances that permit companies to release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Covered entities are generally large emitters of greenhouse gases, who under the program must surrender emissions allowances or offset credits to cover their emissions, or face monetary penalties or other negative consequences. Auctions are a key component of how California expects to meet its targets to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.
Continue Reading California Court of Appeals Upholds California’s Cap-and-Trade Program

Two new bills, similar in concept but differing in approach, seek to align renewable energy output with peak electricity demand. Currently, the California Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires investor-owned utilities to procure 50% of total retail sales of electricity from renewable energy resources by 2030. If enacted, the bills would expand the RPS from a clean energy procurement mechanism to include, for the first time, the procurement of non-fossil fuel based capacity resources.
Continue Reading California Lawmakers Introduce Clean Peak Standard Legislation

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order (the “Order”) has now been posted on the White House website, a summary of which can be found here.  Over the last week, many pundits and industry insiders have speculated on its contents, with many having a fairly clear crystal

Section 1 of the Order sets forth various policy objectives, many of which (e.g., clean, reliable, affordable, safe energy) are goals that should garner bi-partisan support.  How these policies are interpreted by the various heads of agencies will be one factor guiding America’s energy future.  Another policy factor may be critical, contained in section 1(d), that “all agencies should take appropriate actions to promote clean air and clean water for the American people, while also respecting the proper roles of Congress and the States concerning these matters in our constitutional republic.”  This interplay between various states’ initiatives (and those states’ renewable portfolio standards) and the direction in the Order may impact the overall direction and tone set in the Order.
Continue Reading Brief Overview of President Trump’s Energy Independence Executive Order

President Trump and four executives of his administration held a press conference this afternoon in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA’s”) Map Room. Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy), Ryan Zinke (Secretary of Interior), Scott Pruitt (EPA Administrator), and Vice President Michael Pence provided opening remarks, flanked by coal mining representatives.  Secretary Perry started by noting it