On August 19, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposed decision accepting the 2019 Renewables Portfolio Standard Procurement Plans submitted by four new Community Choice Aggregators (CCAs): Butte Choice Energy Authority; Clean Energy Alliance; the City of Santa Barbara; and San Diego Community Power. Each of these CCAs is anticipated to start providing
Brian Nese practices in the Energy Development group and the Renewable and Thermal Energy Initiatives. Brian focuses his practice on representing renewable energy project developers, owners and operators in drafting and negotiating various project documents, including engineering, procurement and construction agreements, operation and maintenance agreements, balance of plant agreements, supply agreements, and real property agreements. He also assists project developers with mergers and acquisitions, financings, and related due diligence. Brian is a former co-leader of the firm’s energy team and a former managing partner for the firm’s California offices. He encourages you to follow him on Twitter @BNese25 and welcomes LinkedIn connection requests.
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On July 29, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision in Winding Creek Solar LLC v. Peterman et al., ruling that California’s feed-in tariff for small qualifying facilities (QFs), the Renewable Market Adjusting Tariff (ReMAT), violates the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) (Ninth Circuit Case No. 17-17531). ReMAT provides small QFs of three megawatts (MW) or less with a standard contract for energy offtake, on a first-come, first-served basis. Under ReMAT, rates available to any given generator fluctuate based on the price the developers ahead in the contract queue will accept. The California investor-owned utilities must offer ReMAT contracts up to a program cap of 750 MW, which is proportionately split among the utilities, and then further divided across different types of generation, including baseload and peak/non-peak resources.
The Ninth Circuit ruled that ReMAT violated two tenets of PURPA. Under PURPA, subject to certain exemptions, utilities are required to buy at the avoided cost rate all the power produced by a QF. First, contrary to PURPA’s requirement that a utility buy all of a QF’s output, the Ninth Circuit found that ReMAT limits the amount of energy that utilities are required to purchase from QFs by placing caps on procurement. Second, ReMAT sets a market-based rate for energy from participating QFs, rather than a price based on the utilities’ avoided cost as required under PURPA.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Strikes Down California ReMAT in Winding Creek Solar Case
The 2019-2020 California Legislative Session has reached its first deadline. February 22, 2019 marked the deadline by which bills could be introduced for the first half of the Legislative Session. Lawmakers will begin Spring Recess April 12 and reconvene April 22. The last day for bills to be passed out of the house of origin is May 31, 2019.
Below is a list of some of the key bills Stoel Rives’ Energy Team will be monitoring throughout the Legislative Session. We note that some bills do not contain language beyond the “intent of the Legislature.” However, we will continue to monitor these bills in case of substantive amendments. These bills are set forth separately below under the heading “Legislative Intent.”
The majority of the bills introduced this Legislative Session relate in some way to California’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and move to cleaner sources of generation, including legislation governing electric vehicles, energy storage, and renewable energy. A number of bills introduced in February also attempt to address the impacts of wildfires, or to reduce wildfire risk.
AB 40 (Ting, D) Zero-emission vehicles: comprehensive strategy.
Status: Introduced December 3, 2018; referred to Committees on Transportation and Natural Resources January 24, 2019.
AB 40 would require by no later than January 1, 2021, the State Air Resources Board to develop a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the sales of new motor vehicles and new light-duty trucks in the state have transitioned fully to zero-emission vehicles, as defined, by 2040, as specified.
Continue Reading Key Energy Related Bills Introduced in the 2019-2020 Legislative Session
The CAISO is proposing several changes to the Resource Adequacy framework that will be relevant to generators both within and outside of California. CAISO is in the initial stages of developing their policy changes and it is a good time to voice concerns or offer suggestions before the changes are solidified. We expect more than…
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. Legislators have been busy moving bills through the legislative process since reconvening from the spring recess. Below is a summary and status of bills we have been following.
An enrolled bill is one that has been through the proofreading process and is sent to the Governor to take action. A two-year bill is a bill taken out of consideration during the first year of a regular legislative session, with the intent of taking it up again during the second half of the session.
- Since our last update, the Governor has vetoed one bill and signed the others that were sent for approval earlier this session.
- Several bills we previously reported on have become two-year bills, but without much movement in this second half of the session.
- Several new bills have been introduced that are currently going through the process of amendments and hearings.
Bills Passed Since Last Update
SB 549 (Bradford, D): Public utilities: reports: moneys for maintenance, safety and reliability.
STATUS: Approved by Governor September 25, 2017.
- Existing law places various responsibilities upon the CPUC to ensure that public utility services are provided in a manner that protects the public safety and the safety of utility employees.
- SB 549 requires an electrical or gas corporation to annually notify the CPUC each time that capital or expense revenue authorized by the CPUC for maintenance, safety or reliability is redirected for other purposes, and requires the CPUC to make the notification available to the Office of Safety Advocate, Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and to the service list of any relevant proceeding.
In the recently issued but unpublished decision Reed v. SunRun, Inc. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC498002, Feb. 2, 2018), the Second District Court of Appeal ruled that a solar power purchase agreement (“PPA”) provider that only sells solar energy to homeowners is not required to be a licensed California contractor under certain…
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. Legislators have been busy moving bills through the legislative process since reconvening from the Summer Recess. For any bill not identified as a two-year bill, the deadline for each house to pass the bill and present it to the Governor for signature or veto was September 15, 2017. Below is a summary and status of bills we have been following.
An enrolled bill is one that has been through the proof-reading process and is sent to the Governor to take action. A two-year bill is a bill taken out of consideration during the first year of a regular legislative session, with the intent of taking it up again during the second half of the session.
- Of particular note here is SB 100, California’s pitch for 100 percent renewable energy, failed to move to the next stage of the process and is kicked to next year.
- Our next blog post, after October 15, will provide an update on whether those bills sent to Governor Brown were signed or vetoed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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