State Energy Policy

The Local Clean Energy Alliance monitors state energy legislation, CPUC proceedings, and ballot initiatives.  We take positions on laws that will significantly affect local renewable energy and energy efficiency development in the Bay Area.

California 2010 Ballot Initiatives

New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers

The alliance opposes PG&E's Anti-CCA ballot initiative.  PG&E's ballot measure to thwart CCA has been renamed as reported in the SF Chronicle:

Fighting over the initiative has already begun. Opponents successfully petitioned California Attorney General Jerry Brown to change the measure's original title, the Taxpayers Right to Vote Act.

It has since been renamed the New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers. (The Sierra Club had requested "The Utility Monopoly Protection Amendment," with the visceral acronym of "ThUMPA.")

"New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers" is very close to what the Local Clean Energy Alliance suggested to the Attorney General: "Additional Two-Thirds Majority Requirement for Local Electricity Bonds Act".  Thanks to Al and Aaron for the excellent suggestions!

We oppose the initiative on the following grounds:

  1. The initiative, if passed, would amend the basic revenue bond authority of local government. The Revenue Bond Law of 1941 specifically provides that a board or governing authority of a Joint Powers Authority, such as would govern an aggregate electricity provider, has the ability to issue revenue bonds without holding an election. Issuance of revenue bonds by local government entities without an election is a long-standing feature of California law.
  2. The initiative conflates revenue bonds with general obligation bonds. It ignores the ability of local governments to own assets and to secure bonds with revenue obtained from those assets.

In short, this initiative would single out a particular use of revenue bonds, and in doing so could cripple the ability of local governments to issue any kind of revenue bond.  

CPUC Proceedings

2010 Energy Efficiency Proceeding 

There is a California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) proceeding underway that will decide how to spend Public Goods Charges. PG&E is angling to administer these funds as they have been for years. TURN and others are advocating that the CPUC allow cities and other entities to administer their own programs.

Video of the Local Clean Energy Alliance's Dave Room giving testimony to the CPUC Energy Efficiency proceeding about the Green Goggles from Wizard of OZ, Greenwashing, and PG&E.

This money is already being collected as a Public Goods Charge on every monthly energy bill, and since it’s our money they are spending, we have the right to demand that it be spent on Energy Efficiency programs that will benefit our communities.

Women's Energy Matters (WEM) has filed complaints in CPUC energy efficiency proceedings describing how PG&E execs are offering special deals on energy efficiency to elected officials in Novato and Marin County in return for voting against Community Choice Energy. The CPUC needs to hear from Community Choice supporters and Bay Area residents who are concerned about this.

This is an important opportunity to put some restraints on PG&E's marketing against Community Choice -- and also the best chance we've had in years to loosen PG&E's monopoly over energy efficiency and get more independent programs.

If you care about the energy utilities’ misuse of the money you pay on your bill every month for energy efficiency programs, Women’s Energy Matters (WEM) and Bay Localize urge you to tell Commissioners what you think!

Please send a letter to Commissioners expressing your concerns about the misuse of public funds. Review, edit, and send the letter online.

For more information, see WEM’s Videos  here and here about this topic.

State Lesiglation

The Local Clean Energy Alliance supports SB 279 (Hancock), AB 560 (Skinner), and AB 1106 (Fuentes).

SB 279 - Local government: community facilities districts
Hancock's SB 279 will allow local governments to create community
facilities districts. The Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 authorizes a community facilities district to finance the purchase, construction, expansion, improvement, or rehabilitation of certain facilities, including, among others, child care facilities, undergrounding of water transmission and distribution facilities, and the cleanup of hazardous materials.

This bill would also authorize a community facilities district to
finance and refinance the acquisition, installation, and improvement of energy efficiency, water conservation, and renewable energy improvements to or on real property and in buildings, as specified.

TAKE ACTION: SB 279 needs your support now, as the Governor is leaning towards a veto. Send a support letter to the Governor with our online form!

Bill Info

AB 560 - Net energy metering
Skinner's bill AB 560 will increase the cap on net metering from 2.5% to 10%. We will hit the 2.5% within 6 months without action. PG&E is opposed.

n today’s challenging economic environment, customers are seeking the ability to have control over their electricity bills. Poll after poll has underscored the overwhelming and broad based support enjoyed by locally generated renewable energy across the nation and in California. Net metering meets all of the above objectives and contributes to the grid during peak periods, just when the system needs it the most. 

Net metering is not only crucial to a solar project’s economics, but also benefits all ratepayers by decreasing peak demand, when electricity is most needed and most expensive. As you are aware, California’s current net metering program is capped at 2.5% of system peak load.  At current growth rates, the cap will be reached in the next 18 months—meaning that the issue needs to be dealt with this legislative cycle, or the solar market will face major disruption.

California was one of the first states to enact net metering, and the policy has been crucial to the growth of the industry in the state, with over 40,000 residences, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of schools and government buildings taking advantage. Currently, 44 states and Washington DC offer net metering, and 18 of those states have eliminated the cap on total net energy metered capacity. 

If California expects to achieve the goals of the California Solar Initiative, continue to be a leader in deployment of solar, and build a sustainable, long-term renewable energy economy, then the cap on net metering must be lifted.  

Bill Info

AB 1106 - Renewable electric generation facilities: feed-in tariffs 
Fuentes' AB 1106 will require Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) to purchase all electricity produced by eligible renewable generation that is less than 20 MWs in size and is located on property owned by the customer and pay the customer a price determined by the CPUC. This bill will also mandate that each kWh generated from the electric generation facility shall count toward the IOUs RPS responsibilities.

The CPUC, in consultation with the California Energy Committee (CEC), will be expected to develop FITs for eligible renewable energy resources larger than 20 MWs.

AB 1106 does not apply to Publicly Owned Utilities (POUs).

Update -- AB1106 has become a two-year bill. What this means is that the author realized he was not going to have enough votes to pass it and get it signed this year. Rather than have it fail and have to start over again next year, he instead is pulling it back to be re-considered in next year’s session. The bad news is that delays any action on a state-wide FiT for another year. The good news is that this gives us time to make it a better, and more successful, bill next year.

Bill Info