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

by Stoel Rives - Renewable + Law

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.

 AB 546 (Chiu, D): Land use: local ordinances: energy systems.
STATUS: Approved by Governor September 30, 2017.

    • AB 546 requires the city and/or county to make all documentation and forms associated with the permitting of advanced energy storage available on a publicly accessible Internet Web site. This must be accomplished on or before September 30, 2018, for a city, county, or city and county with a population of 200,000 or more residents, or on or before January 31, 2019, for a city (including a charter city), county, or city and county with a population of less than 200,000 residents.
    • Also authorizes the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to provide guidance on energy storage permitting, including streamlining, best practices, and potential factors for consideration by local government in establishing fees for permitting and inspection.

 AB 634 (Eggman, D): Real property: solar energy systems.  
STATUS: Approved by Governor October 15, 2017.

  • Prohibits a homeowners’ association from establishing a general policy prohibiting the installation or use of a rooftop solar energy system for household purposes on the roof of the building in which the owner resides, and prohibits an association from requiring approval by a vote of members owning separate interests in the common interest development in those circumstances.

AB 797 (Irwin, D): Solar thermal systems.
STATUS: Approved by Governor October 4, 2017.

  • The Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 requires the CPUC, if it determines that a solar water heating program is cost effective for ratepayers and in the public interest, to implement a program to promote the installation of 200,000 solar water heating systems.
    • AB 797 revises the program to, among other things, promote the installation of solar thermal systems throughout the state, reserve 50 percent of the total program budget for the installation of solar thermal systems in low-income residential housing or in buildings in disadvantaged communities, and extends the operation of the program through July 31, 2020.
    • The bill further expands the program to homeowners who lack access to natural gas and rely on propane or wood burning to fulfill their space heating, water heating, and cooking needs; who are being considered to receive natural gas; and who reside in the San Joaquin Valley communities identified by the CPUC.

AB 1400 (Friedman, D): Public Interest Research, Development, and Demonstration Program and Electric Program Investment Charge Program: microgrid projects: diesel backup generators.    
STATUS: Approved by Governor October 4, 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.
    • This bill prohibits recipients of moneys awarded under the above two programs from expending those moneys for the purchase of diesel backup generators.

 SB 338 (Skinner, D): Integrated resource plan: peak demand.

STATUS: Approved by Governor September 30, 2017.

  • Existing law requires the CPUC to adopt a process for each load-serving entity to file an integrated resource plan and a schedule for periodic updates to the plan to ensure that the load-serving entity meets, among other things, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and the requirement to procure at least 50 percent of its electricity from eligible renewable resources by December 31, 2030. Existing law requires a local publicly owned electric utility with an annual electrical demand exceeding 700 gigawatt hours, on or before January 1, 2019, to adopt an integrated resources plan and a process for updating the plan at least once every five years to ensure that the utility satisfies, among other things, the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and the requirement to procure at least 50 percent of its electricity from eligible renewable resources by December 31, 2030.
  • This bill requires the CPUC and the governing boards of local publicly owned electric utilities to consider establishing policies and procedures to ensure that load-serving entities or local publicly owned electric utilities meet energy and reliability needs while reducing the need for new electricity generation and new transmission in achieving the state’s energy goals at the least cost to ratepayers.

Vetoed Bills

AB 79 (Levine, D): Electrical generation: hourly greenhouse gas emissions: electricity from unspecified sources.
STATUS: Enrolled September 20, 2017; vetoed by Governor.

  • Initially introduced as a bill to decrease the amount of energy consumed from coal-fired generation resources, AB 79 was revamped to require, by January 1, 2019, the State Air Resources Board, in consultation with the California balancing authorities, to regularly update its inputs or methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources. The bill would have required the CPUC and the Energy Commission 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.
  • The bill would have authorized the state board to not update its methodology for the calculation of emissions of greenhouse gases associated with electricity from unspecified sources if it determined that updating the methodology was infeasible or was not appropriate because the administrative burden was excessive and updating was unlikely to materially improve the accuracy of the calculations needed for the state programs designed to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases.

Bills That Died, but Could Be Resurrected

AB 457 (Cunningham, R): Saline water conversion: Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.
STATUS: Two-year bill as of July 14, 2017.

  • AB 457 was introduced solely to enact legislation requiring a feasibility study of repurposing local water produced by the water desalinization facility at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
    • As amended, this bill now proposes to require the CPUC, as part of the commission’s regulatory actions related to the proposed decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and consistent with the goal to mitigate negative impacts to ratepayers, to cause a study to be conducted on the feasibility of repurposing the water desalination facility at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for purposes of desalinating water for local use.

SB 71 (Wiener, D): Solid waste: disposal (formerly Electricity: solar energy systems).

STATUS: Amended in Assembly Feb 26, 2018.

  • Originally introduced as a bill relating to the installation of solar photovoltaic systems or solar water heating systems in solar zones, SB 71 was once revised to focus on the requirement of solar electric or solar thermal systems to be installed in the solar zone. It has been revised once again to now focus on solid waste disposal.

SB 100 (De León, D): California Renewable Portfolio Standard Program: emissions of greenhouse gases.

STATUS: Two-year bill as of September 15, 2017.

  • Previously introduced as SB 584, SB 100 would require that retail sellers and locally publicly owned electric utilities procure a minimum of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources so that the total kilowatt hours of those products sold to retail end-use customers achieve 60 percent by December 31, 2030.
  • The bill further would require that the transition to a zero carbon electric system for California not increase carbon emissions elsewhere in the western grid and that the transition not allow resource shuffling.

New Bills Introduced

AB 2077 (Limón, D): Electricity: local government renewable energy self-generation program.

STATUS: Last amended April 18, 2018.

  • Updates rules governing the local government renewable energy self-generation program, which currently authorizes a local government to receive a bill credit to be applied to a designated benefiting account for electricity that is exported to the grid by an eligible renewable generating facility.
  • Provides that eligible renewable generating facilities are not required to be located on property that is contiguous with the property on which the benefiting account is located, but instead could be located elsewhere, including when the electricity generated by the facility flows through the transmission or distribution system of an electrical corporation under jurisdiction of another local government or is on state-owned property.

AB 2208 (Aguiar-Curry, D): California Renewable Portfolio Standard Program: local publicly owned electric and gas utilities: electrical and gas corporations.

STATUS: Last amended April 19, 2018.

  • Updates requirements under the Renewables Portfolio Standard Program to require that no less than 25 percent of the incremental procurement requirements for each compliance period are satisfied with renewable grid-balancing generation either until 20 percent of total electricity products procured to satisfy overall procurement requirements are from such resources, or until the end of 2030, whichever is first.
  • Grid-balancing generation will be defined subject to certain unspecified parameters.

AB 2693 (Quirk, D): Natural gas-fired generating units.

STATUS: Last amended April 11, 2018.

  • Would require CPUC and CAISO to determine which natural gas-fired electric generating units in existence at the time of the analysis are needed to ensure short-term and long-term local and system electrical reliability.
  • Would require analysis be done before 2020 and then every two years.
  • Following determination, Air Resources Board will consult on identifying which are preferred generating units.

AB 2695 (Ting, D): Self-generation incentive program: energy storage systems.

STATUS: Last amended April 11, 2018.

  • Would authorize an additional annual collection of $140 million by three IOUs to provide for energy storage systems.
  • Would require IOUs to reserve at least 40 percent of the additional money collected in order to develop, own, and operate energy storage system projects located within and benefiting low-income communities, households, or multifamily residences.

AB 3187 (Grayson, D): Biomethane: gas corporations: rates: interconnection.

STATUS: Last amended April 11, 2018.

  • Would require the CPUC to approve, or modify and approve, a gas corporation’s application to include just and reasonable investments required to interconnect biomethane production to the existing pipeline system in its rate base.

SB 819 (Hill, D): Electrical and gas corporations: rates.

STATUS: Judiciary Committee hearing held April 24, 2018.

  • Would prohibit an electrical corporation from recovering any fines or penalties through a rate approved by the CPUC. This is in line with current law that applies to gas corporations.

SB 901 (Dodd, D): Electrical corporations: local publicly owned electric utilities: electrical cooperatives: wildfire mitigation plans and measures.

STATUS: Last amended April 10, 2018.

  • Would require electric corporations to prepare a wildfire mitigation plan; would similarly require wildfire mitigation measures for publicly owned utilities and electrical corporations, to include protocols the preparing entity may use to determine when it may be necessary to de-energize its electrical lines and deactivate its reclosers.
  • Protocols must include assessment of several factors including meteorological and fire threat conditions as well as appropriate procedures for notification to customers.

SB 1076 (Hetzberg, D): Emergency preparedness: electrical utilities: electromagnetic pulse attacks and geomagnetic storm events.

STATUS: Governmental Organization Committee hearing held April 24, 2018.

  • Would require the Office of Emergency Services, within the office of the Governor, to coordinate with other relevant state entities and stakeholders to develop preparedness recommendations in order to harden the critical infrastructure of electrical utilities against an electromagnetic pulse attack, geomagnetic storm event, or other long-term outage.

SB 1090 (Monning, D): Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

STATUS: Set for hearing April 30, 2018.

  • Would require the commission to approve the full funding for the community impact mitigation settlement related to the decommissioning of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, and for the employee retention program proposed by PG&E in a specified application submitted to the commission.

SB 1339 (Stern, D): Electricity: electrical grid resiliency deployment plans: microgrids.

STATUS: Last amended April 10, 2018.

  • Requires electrical corporations and local publicly owned electric utilities to develop and submit an electrical grid resiliency deployment plan.
  • Also requires same entities to establish a tariff or rate schedule for third-party electrical grid resiliency investments.

SB 1347 (Stern, D): Energy storage systems: procurement.

STATUS: Last amended April 18, 2018.

  • Would require the CPUC to determine whether additional procurement of energy storage systems by the IOUs is needed to maintain long-term system and local reliability.
  • If need is found, requires the CPUC to direct procurement.

SB 1440 (Hueso, D): Energy: biomethane procurement goals.

STATUS: Last amended April 9, 2018.

  • Bill requires the CPUC to establish a biomethane procurement program for gas corporations to procure their proportionate share of a statewide total of 32 billion cubic feet of biomethane from sources with first point of interconnection with the pipeline system in California.

Updates on Bills Not Included in Our Prior Update

AB 726 (Holden, D): Energy.

STATUS: Two-year bill as of September 12, 2017.

  • Would create a Commission on Regional Grid Transformation and require it, along with the governing board of the CAISO to take certain actions in order to transform the CAISO into a regional organization.
  • Would repeal the current law governing this transformation.

AB 813 (Holden, D): Multistate regional transmission system organization: membership.

STATUS: Last amendment March 8, 2018.

  • Would require electrical transmission facility owners, retail sellers of electricity, and local publicly owned electric utilities to meet certain FERC requirements before joining a multistate regional transmission system.
  • Would also require these same entities to submit bylaws to the Energy Commission for review prior to participation.

AB 1292 (Patterson, R): Electrical corporations: computation of average residential consumption of electricity and baseline quantity for electricity usage.

STATUS: Last amended April 9, 2018.

  • Would require the CPUC to account for consumption met by residential generation located behind the meter when computing average residential consumption of energy and the baseline quantity for electricity usage.

SB 356 (Skinner, D): Energy data transparency.

STATUS: Two-year bill as of September 1, 2017 (no action taken since this date).

  • Would require CPUC to direct electrical corporations to make public certain data, including pricing data for electricity.
  • Would also require the CAISO to make available certain information regarding the operation of the transmission grid.

SB 692 (Allen, D): Transmission: transmission and wheeling access charges.

STATUS: Two-year bill as of July 21, 2017 (no action taken since this date).

  • Would require the CAISO to undertake a stakeholder initiative to consider modification to the billing determinants to which the operator applies the transmission and wheeling access charges.

SB 700 (Wiener, D): Energy Storage Initiative.

STATUS: Two-year bill as of July 14, 2017 (no action taken since this date).

  • Would require the CPUC to establish an Energy Storage Initiative to provide rebates to customers of electrical corporations for installation of energy storage systems, and would require the CPUC to undertake a proceeding to determine collection to fund this initiative.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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