Sophie Akins

Sophie Akins

Best Best & Krieger LLP

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Latest Publications


California Cities and Counties Must Expedite Their Permitting Processes for Small Residential Rooftop Solar Systems by Sept. 30,...

Under AB 2188, recently signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, cities and counties must adopt ordinances, or amend their current ordinances, to create expedited, streamlined permitting processes for small rooftop solar energy systems....more

9/26/2014 - Energy Policy Expedited Actions Process Local Ordinance New Legislation Permits Solar Panels

New Law Requires Cities and Counties to Expedite Their Permitting Processes for Small Residential Rooftop Solar Systems

Cities and Counties Must Enact New Solar Permitting Ordinances by Sept. 30, 2015 - A new law imposes requirements on cities and counties regarding permitting for small residential rooftop solar energy systems. Under AB...more

9/23/2014 - Energy Permits Renewable Energy Solar Energy

California Department of Water Resources Releases Draft 2014 Water-Energy Grant Program Guidelines

Grant Program Assists Public Agencies with Water Efficiency Projects - The California Department of Water Resources has released a draft of its 2014 Water-Energy Grant Program Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation...more

6/27/2014 - Department of Water Resources Energy Projects Grants Greenhouse Gas Emissions Public Comment Utilities Sector

SB 871 Bumps Back Repeal of Solar Energy Exclusion by Eight Years

Solar Energy Systems Will Continue to Be Excluded from Full Cash Value of Real Property - A new law extending the exclusion of solar energy systems from affecting the full cash value of real property for taxation...more

6/26/2014 - Energy Property Tax Property Valuation Renewable Energy Solar Energy

CPUC Begins Work on Successor NEM Tariff

BB&K is Forming a Coalition to Represent the Public Agency Perspective on Renewable Energy Investments to the CPUC - The California Public Utilities Commission recently held a workshop with interested stakeholders...more

5/19/2014 - CPUC Energy Net-Energy Metering Pending Legislation PG&E Renewable Energy San Diego Gas & Electric Southern California Edison Tariffs

CPUC Issues Decision to Protect Solar Customers for 20 Years

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently ruled to protect all existing solar, biogas and wind customers under their current net-energy metering (NEM) contracts for a 20-year grandfathering period. The...more

4/1/2014 - CPUC NEM-PAC Net-Energy Metering Renewable Energy Solar Energy

Renewables Proposed to Fund Salton Sea Restoration at Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit

I recently attended the Imperial Valley Economic Development Corporation’s 7th Annual Imperial Valley Renewable Energy Summit. My colleague, Bob Hargreaves, participated on a Salton Sea panel and proposed development of...more

3/25/2014 - Renewable Energy

CPUC Proposes 20-Year Transition Period for Net-Energy Metered Customers

Projects with Power Purchase Agreements or Payback Periods Extending More Than 20 Years Would Not Be Protected - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently proposed establishing a 20-year transition...more

2/26/2014 - CPUC Energy Energy Policy Utilities Sector

Charter Cities Challenge Legislation Restricting Access to State Funding Based on Compliance with Prevailing Wage Law

Cities Sue State Calling SB 7 an Unconstitutional Restriction on Municipal Affairs - Several California charter cities challenged the constitutionality of Senate Bill 7 (SB 7) last week by filing a writ of mandate and...more

2/25/2014 - Prevailing Wages Public Projects Public Works Wage and Hour Wages

AB 327 Threatens Existing Solar and Renewable Projects in California

In October 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 327 that may significantly change the economics of roof-top solar and similar renewable energy projects for public agencies, businesses and homeowners. In part,...more

2/11/2014 - Clean Energy CPUC Renewable Energy Solar Energy

Schools and Community Colleges Banned from Using Sole Source Procurement for Prop. 39 Funded Projects: Contracts Must Be Awarded...

Many California school districts and community college districts are gearing up to perform, or are in the process of performing, energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy projects with funds derived from Proposition...more

2/3/2014 - Clean Energy Energy Energy Policy Renewable Energy

CPUC Extends Comment Period to Friday on Net-Energy Metering Transition: Law Impacts Public Agencies With Renewable Energy...

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted a one-week extension until December 13 for interested parties to submit comments on establishing a transition period under the newly signed Assembly Bill 327 (AB 327)....more

12/10/2013 - CPUC Electricity Energy Energy Policy Renewable Energy Utilities Sector

CPUC Seeks Comments by Friday on Net-Energy Metering Law Transition Period: Law Impacts Public Agencies’ Renewable Energy Projects...

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) set a Friday deadline for interested parties to submit comments on establishing a transition period under the newly signed Assembly Bill 327 (AB 327). For existing net-energy...more

12/3/2013 - CPUC Energy Energy Policy

New Laws Affecting Public Agencies in California

A Recap of BB&K Legal Alerts & Articles - During the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Brown signed into law new legislation affecting California public agencies, most of which will go into effect in less than six weeks....more

11/26/2013 - Contractors Public Entities Subcontractors

Controversial Assembly Bill 327 Jeopardizes Renewable Energy Investments: New Law Amends Net-Energy Metering Laws

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 327 (AB 327), the hotly debated net-energy metering (NEM) law that generated customer protests at utility headquarters throughout the state. Schools,...more

10/8/2013 - Energy Energy Policy Power Grid

New California Law Allows Customers to Elect to Purchase Renewable Energy from the Utilities

Pilot Project Aimed at Those Who Lack Ability to Build Their Own Renewable Energy Projects - Gov. Jerry Brown’s signing of Senate Bill 43 (SB 43) on Saturday launched one the nation’s largest community solar programs....more

9/30/2013 - Energy Energy Policy Power Grid Renewable Energy Utilities Sector

Assembly Bill 44 Requires Submission of Subcontractors' License Numbers in Public Construction Bids

Public Agencies Must Modify Bid Forms to Require Subcontractor License Number - Governor Jerry Brown last week signed into law Assembly Bill 44 (AB 44), which amends Public Contract Code section 4104 to require a prime...more

9/18/2013 - Bids Construction Contracts Jerry Brown Proposed Legislation Subcontractors

August 1 Deadline Announced for Prop. 39 Funding for Small Schools - Under 1,000 ADA Schools Can Apply for Two Years of Funding...

Schools in California with less than 1,000 average daily attendance (ADA) have until August 1 to apply for two years worth of state funding to help with energy efficiency or renewable energy projects....more

7/23/2013 - Deadlines Energy Efficiency New Legislation Public Projects Public Schools Public-Private Partnerships Renewable Energy Students

California Schools to Receive $381 Million for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects - Money for Projects Funded by...

Yesterday, the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 73 (SB 73), which implements Proposition 39 (Prop. 39). Prop. 39 was approved by voters last year to provide California school districts, county offices of education,...more

6/28/2013 - Energy Efficiency Proposition 39 Public Schools Renewable Energy

Landfill Gas-to-Energy Projects Have Multiple Benefits for California Cities - BB&K's Sophie Akins Writes About the Benefits, Ways...

Landfill gas, or LFG, to energy projects provide tangible public benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and generating local jobs. Municipalities are finding that landfill gas to energy projects...more

6/4/2013 - Air Quality Standards Energy Costs Energy Efficiency Energy Projects Greenhouse Gas Emissions Landfills Municipalities Oil & Gas Renewable Energy

CPUC Petitioned to Develop Methodology to Quantify Costs, Benefits of Energy-Reducing Programs for Water Sector - Petition is...

The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) own Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) petitioned the CPUC yesterday to start a rulemaking proceeding that would develop a partnership framework between investor-owned...more


Settlement Reached in Riverside County Solar Power Plant Policy Lawsuit - Settlement Pending Board of Supervisors’ Approval of...

Riverside County and the solar developers who challenged the county’s solar power plant ordinance in court came to a tentative settlement agreement, approved by a Riverside judge last week. Before the solar developers drop...more

5/20/2013 - Power Plants Settlement Solar Energy

Power Plant Project Suspended After California Public Utilities Commission Ruling - Move Highlights Importance of Commission’s...

In a ruling that highlights how California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decisions can have broad impacts on proposed power projects, the CPUC recently denied San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) the authority to...more

5/10/2013 - CPUC Energy Projects Power Plants Tolling

Solar Project Performance May Be Threatened By Satcon Bankruptcy - Semi-Annual Audits Should be Conducted to Ensure Project...

If your solar project uses Satcon-brand inverters to convert the direct current generated by your solar panels into alternating current, you may have recently received notice from Satcon or your installation contractor that...more

4/11/2013 - Audits Solar Energy Solar Panels Warranties

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