State Legislation – Advocacy
(Last update – Jan, 2 2019)
Last year in the state legislature there were a few bills that we were taking positions on that were important for the future of Clean Energy in the state and locally. A couple were from the previous year that we continued to fight for or against. Our campaign and discussion of bills is mostly led by 350 Bay Area’s Legislative Committee where you can see quite a few other bills but the Clean Energy/Clean Air team focuses its efforts on ones that our campaign follow closely working with the Legislative Campaign. Supporting legislation to raise the threshold for how much electricity in California must come from renewable sources and stopping legislation that tries to hamper Community Choice Energy, a very effective way to increase the pace of development of local, renewable energy, are high priorities of this campaign and complements our work on similar issues in rule-makings at the CPUC.
Of course, there was SB 100 (sets a goal for the state of reaching 100% clean energy for electricity by 2045) which was former President Pro Tem Senator Kevin De Leon’s bill from 2017. In September of last year, it had passed the Assembly, barely, right at the end of the legislative session, which was all it needed to do at that point after having passed the Senate in 2017.. And then in early September, just before the Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Brown signed it into law, making Hawaii and California the only two states with that goal signed into law. This bill was a high priority of the Legislative Team and many in 350 Bay Area worked hard on this. It was not as much a focus of the Clean Energy/Clean Air Campaign so much, as it was of everyone in 350 Bay Area working on legislation. And there were so many other organizations also working on it. Here is the website where you can still see by clicking on “supporters” at the top and scrolling down, all the groups that were pushing for SB100 to pass: https://ca100.org/ .
AB 813 was back last year as the grid regionalization bill that we were very concerned about. Here was our Letter of Opposition to the Bill. It was defeated right at the end of the legislative session by the new President Pro Tem, Toni Atkins, saying she would not bring it to the floor of the Senate for a vote. It appeared that our efforts in lobbying our State Senators in the Bay Area, and others around the state, worked. We urged people to take action on it HERE, where you can see our talking points and links to information about it, as well, which can help you see why we continue to be so concerned. It may be a bill that comes back this year.
And the other bill we were focused on was SB 237 which ended up passing and was signed into law despite even our letter writing efforts to the Governor to get him to veto it. We were strongly opposed even though it was amended to make it slightly less of a problem. It allows more businesses to contract on their own directly with energy service providers for their energy. These can be very short term contracts that are not transparent and hard to regulate. This will make it very difficult for Community Choice Energy programs that have these businesses in their territories as they may not know how much energy to purchase in their longer term contracts as they can’t predict what businesses will do this and keep doing this. It is also bad for the state’s clean energy goals as cost is the primary motivator for the businesses and they can choose to purchase fossil-fuel generated energy at lower cost. It passed in the Assembly Appropriations Committee (Here was our Letter of Opposition), and then on the floor soon after. It was a “gut and amend” bill, which is a tricky way some legislators have of putting something through very quickly and with almost no discussion in policy committees and even then, only on one side of the legislature. We thought we could convince the Governor that that isn’t the way to make consequential energy policy but he still signed it. Perhaps there is a way to stop it’s implementation in the CPUC or by passing another bill this year before it is scheduled to take effect.
Please consider getting involved with us next year to help with legislation. The nest session begins in January. If interested, send an email to Ken Jones at Ken@350BayArea.org.