Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CALIFORNIA: SB 43 passes Assembly Utilities and Commerce committee / Oppose SB1295

from Tom Price at

Great news! Thanks to all your hard work over the last two years, a few minutes ago our newly amended SB 43 passed the Assembly Utility and Commerce committee 11-0! It was a bipartisan victory, with at least one Republican member joining the others to pass the bill.

With PG&E, TURN, and many others withdrawing their opposition, and dozens of groups in support, it now appears very likely our bill will pass the full Assembly and go on to Governor Brown for signature. 

Once passed and signed into law, this will become the biggest shared renewable program in the country.

Here are the key elements:
*600MW all-new renewable energy, to be available to renters, small businesses and all others who can't currently install renewables on site,  on demand starting in June, 2014, after the PUC sets program rules and terms

*100MW set aside for projects smaller than 1MW, to be located in 'environmental justice' areas, defined as the top impacted areas for pollution/income and other factors

*100MW set aside for residential customers

* The full "value of solar" and other renewables, as the bill credit. This is perhaps the most important part. What does that mean? It means that as the PUC calculates the values of the renewables being put on the grid, it must then give that full amount to the customer signing up.   So, while we can't know today exactly what the bill credit will be, we DO know that it will reflect the full value to the grid, and we all know that the value of renewables has long been undervalued. 

How it will work:
*Utilities will buy new renewable energy, using RAM, RE-MAT, and other established ways of buying renewable energy, from projects up to 20MW

*Customers will sign up to get as much renewable energy on their bill as they want, and will pay the average amount the utility is paying to procure it on their behalf.

*Customers will then get a credit equal to the full value of that energy to the grid, including the time of day it was made, and where, and from what resource ( solar, wind, hydro, etc ). 

If customers and developers want to bring demand and capacity to the IOU, they will likely be able to do that--there are some details on such agreements that need to be clarified.

The bill takes into account the efforts PG&E and SDGE have already been making to develop their own programs, allowing those to continue to develop while conforming with the intent of SB 43.

The full language of the amendments we took is attached.

More details later on next steps and other other news as it develops, but we wanted you to know immediately that today was a big, big win.

Thanks to Sen. Wolk and her staff, and Assembly Member WIlliams and his staff, and everyone else who helped make today possible.

Vote Solar article:

And from Suzannah Churchill at Vote Solar:

Now that SB 43 is looking likely to pass (though we still need to keep the heat on to get it to Gov’s desk), our immediate focus should be speaking out in opposition to Edison’s bill, AB 1295. AB 1295 is a flawed approach to shared RE in many ways, and would create problems for SB 43 and confusion if both bills were passed. AB 1295 is set for hearing in Senate Energy next Monday, July 2, and letters of opposition need to be in to the committee by 5 pm Thurs 6/26. AB 1295 has sailed through the Assembly already with little opposition, so it’s important that we demonstrate opposition right away.

You can read AB 1295 on leginfo at Attached is a sample letter of opposition, please feel free to work from it to send a letter in on behalf of your org.

Send a copy of the letter re AB 1295 to Senate Energy Committee (by fax at 916 642-8979, or by email at and also send a copy to Asm Hernandez (fax (916) 319-2148). Pls aslo drop me an email to let me know you have sent a letter.

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