Energy Exchange

Sacramento leads by example on cleaner energy with help from electrification

Good news for California’s clean energy fans. Last week the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) approved an aggressive new plan that will help push California’s capitol city and its surrounding area closer to meeting, and beating, the state’s deep carbon reduction goals. Once implemented, SMUD will help create a cleaner energy and transportation system for the region.

The importance of SMUDs proposed investment shouldn’t be understated, nor should its impact. Between now and 2040, the utility plans to invest nearly $7 billion toward projects that generate renewable energy and help switch consumers’ energy use away from fossil fuels like natural gas and gasoline. This powerful commitment goes above and beyond the greenhouse gas reforms required by the state, and will enable the region to be net zero for climate pollution in a little more than 20 years.

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Posted in California, Clean Energy / Comments are closed

100% by 2045: California evaluates one of the nation’s biggest clean energy goals

It’s summertime in California, and one thing that means is lots of sunshine. Lucky for us, the Golden State is a national leader in turning that sunshine, and other renewable resources, into electricity to power homes and business across the state.

Currently, the state is working to produce 50 percent of its electricity from clean energy resources like solar and wind and is closing in on that goal. Next month, lawmakers will get the chance to advance that goal even further – to 100 percent by 2045.

SB 100, authored by Sen. Kevin de León, is the bill that, if passed, could solidify the new, bigger, bolder target. California would be the second state in the nation to pass this high of a target – only behind Hawaii. A handful of other states are considering aiming at 100 percent clean energy, including Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

California’s leadership could help tip the scale. California has the opportunity to show the rest of these states and countries across the world that 100 percent clean energy is possible. With climate change already affecting us, we don’t have much more time to waste.  Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, Electricity Pricing, Energy Efficiency, Energy Storage, Solar Energy, Time of Use / Read 1 Response

California’s legislative session could be huge for state economy and world climate

This year’s legislative session here in California is poised to be a wild ride in clean energy – more ideas, intertwining issues, and intrigue are developing than in the last 10 years. A signal that the state’s clean energy policy is coming of age, leaders and significant players are weaving all of the separate programs together and answering major policy questions. This progress can have a major impact on both California and the world around us.  It’s like Pangea, spreading apart and creating the new world – only much faster.

A game-changer for the West

Take AB 813 by Assemblymember Chris Holden, for example. The bill would create a regional electricity market in the West – something that would combine the state’s desire to expand its clean energy and climate policy and the need for all states, including California (with its high expectation for renewable resources), to balance and run their grids more affordably and effectively.

It is a policy solution that thinks large and small – taking into account the out-of-state pollution reductions necessary in order for California to move the needle on its climate goals while preserving participating states’ and communities’ control over their resource choices. Read More »

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California bill aimed at wildfires effectively bans clean energy that may help prevent them

California experienced one of the worst wildfire seasons in its history last year. In response to widespread devastation, the state’s legislature introduced a bill last week, SB 1088, requiring regulators to establish fire risk reduction and mitigation standards for utilities. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) strongly supports compensating Californians harmed by the fires and taking steps to prevent future fires. However, as currently written, the bill includes unnecessary provisions that would severely limit Californians' access to distributed energy resources. Ironically, these are the tools that can help the state more quickly and cheaply fight climate change – a large contributor to its fire risk. Read More »

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The most important thing California can do with its clean energy could be to share it

Not often is running the electric grid as simple as applying lessons from childhood. Right now it is ─ California is learning to share with its neighbors. A bill currently in front of the Legislature from California Assemblymember Chris Holden, AB 813, aims to build a better trading platform to share California’s extra solar power with nearby states like Oregon, Washington, and Nevada, which would then share their extra wind, solar, and hydropower resources with California.

It is like the lunch table you sat around as a kid – one where you can trade that banana pudding that overflows at your house for one of your neighbor’s chocolate chip cookies. It’s a delicious deal, where everybody wins.

That deal just got better. Holden’s office yesterday released new language which represents an important, positive step in the process of creating a regional electric grid for the West. This includes key requirements and protections to ensure a regional grid lowers harmful greenhouse gas emissions and supports California’s climate and energy goals – helping the state and its neighbors to move towards a low-carbon future. Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy, Energy Innovation, Regional Grid / Read 2 Responses

The two clean energy bills that could take California’s climate action to the next level

Lawmakers recently addressed many critical issues for California: the housing shortage, parks bond, and early on in this year’s legislative session, climate change.

We urge Governor Brown to sign the important pieces of clean energy legislation that made it to his desk, including AB 1239 to support electric vehicle charging and AB 523 to protect clean energy funding for disadvantaged communities).

We are thrilled about three recent enactments: AB 1400 disallows Energy Commission funding of diesel generators in microgrids, and SB 242 and AB 1284, which standardize best practice guidelines for third parties administering Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) projects that finance energy efficiency upgrades or renewables installation for homes and businesses.

However, we can’t help but note that the biggest issues in electricity were left on the table to be further developed and voted on this fall and in 2018: SB 100, and AB 813. This extra time will give us the full, transparent, and deliberate legislative process that stakeholders were looking for in the last few weeks of session. So, what would these bills do? Read More »

Posted in California, Clean Energy / Read 1 Response