Energy Bills on Final Lap in Their Houses

By Published On: May 14, 2010

A bill to prohibit utilities from contracting with new Mexican power plants that fail to meet California’s emission standards passed the Assembly floor May 11. AB 2037 by Assemblymember V. Manuel Pérez (D-Indio) seeks to deter construction of power plants in Mexico that could cause cross-border pollution. His measure requires new projects that export power from Mexico to the Golden State to have the same pollution controls as in-state generating units. Republicans contend the bill would harm the state’s economy. The Assembly passed AB 2037 on a 41-22 vote along party lines. It heads to the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee sent legislation directly to the Senate floor this week, including SB 1033, which requires that greenhouse gas allowances under any state carbon cap-and-trade program be allocated or sold only to utilities and other entities subject to a carbon cap. The bill by Senator Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles) also allows utilities and other regulated firms to sell or trade those carbon emissions if the California Air Resources Board implements a carbon emissions trading scheme. The fate of a state cap-and-trade regime is unclear (see story above). Energy bills passed by the Senate and Assembly Appropriations committees this week include: -SB 1198 by Senator Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) stalls the California Energy Commission’s implementation of its TV energy efficiency standards. It was passed 9-0 by the Senate panel and delays the launch of the groundbreaking rules to July 2011. The commission’s efficiency rules set two tiers, with Tier One predicted to cut the energy use of large screen TVs by 33 percent in 2011. Tier Two rules, slated to go into effect in 2012, curb TV energy use by 49 percent. SB 1198 declares state TV efficiency standards are trumped by any Federal Trade Commission standards. -SB 1340 lends statutory authority to the state Climate Action Team, which was created initially by executive order. The bill by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) is opposed by the California Environmental Protection Agency because legislators would have more say over the team of state energy agency heads. It passed on a 7-1 vote. -AB 2296 by Assemblymember Lori Saldana (D-San Diego) allows sun power projects near, but not at, the end-user’s home to tap into the California Solar Initiative rebates. It passed 11-4. Several bills were not voted upon and sent to “suspense” because of expected costs. This gives the authors time to work out kinks in their bills and try and get stakeholder agreement. Those diverted include: -AB 1873 directs part of the fees expected to be imposed on greenhouse gas emitters to support local government efforts to offer upfront financing for residential renewable and energy efficiency installations. The measure by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) puts dibs on part of the pot California Air Resources Board fees are expected to generate under the state’s climate protection law, AB 32. -AB 2061 by Assemblymember Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) requires the grid and distribution lines to be more energy efficient. It is in response to Department of Energy findings that 96 percent of all homes receive excess voltage. DOE concludes that 1 percent to 3 percent of the energy flowing across power lines could be saved with efficiency measures. -AB 2561 represents the continuing attempt to consolidate some of the state’s energy agencies. Assembly member Mike Villines’ (R-Fresno) bill seeks to consolidate a handful of energy agencies, including the California Energy Commission, under a new state Department of Energy.

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