The size of municipal alternative energy projects built to meet onsite demand that are also plugged into the grid may increase to 5 MW under AB 512 by Assemblymember Richard Gordon (D-Menlo Park). Utilities balked at the legislation increasing the current 1 MW project size limit, claiming the potential excess power fed into the system may over burden distribution lines. While the bill, allows bigger muni solar, landfill, and other projects, it sets a 250 MW state-wide cap for city-generated power. It was passed 10-0 by the Senate Energy, Utilities & Commerce Committee June 21. Utilities represented by San Diego Gas & Electric at the hearing raised concerns about the costs to bundled service providers. Utilities fear having to upgrade their distribution systems to support municipal renewable projects. The issue of payment or credit for excess power from these renewable projects from investor-owned utilities is still under consideration. \u201cThere\u2019s no obligation to purchase\u201d the power these projects feed into the grid, noted Assemblymember Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles). Sonoma and Fresno, in particular, are interested in expanding their municipal alternative energy facilities--passing the 1 MW \u201cbarrier,\u201d according to their representatives. In other legislation, California Public Utilities Commission members would be less likely to hew to personal financial incentives under AB 1055. The bill, by Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) blossomed from a short-lived non-profit that was supposed to support commissioners\u2019 interests. The bill bans any solicitation of funds from CPUC employees--from commissioners to janitors. The CPUC Foundation emerged abruptly in January. After media concern over $20,000 tables at a charity event sponsored by the organization with funds accruing to the commission, the foundation just as suddenly vanished. There is no record of the foundation on non-profit or internal revenue service websites. \u201cI expect it not to be allowed to happen again,\u201d said Hill. The bill, he added, is a method of \u201crestoring public trust in the CPUC.\u201d It passed the committee 10-0. An ongoing private property versus public regulation issue is addressed by AB 724. The bill, by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood), is aimed at the divide between mobile home park owners--off limits to regulators--and the CPUC. The legislation requires the commission to open a docket to investigate master metering for mobile home parks\u2019 electricity, many of which are in shoddy condition. The bill is supported by consumer groups as well as utilities. It was voted out of committee 7-1. On June 20, the Senate Environmental Quality Committee passed two bills--one expanding the size of the Air Resources Board and another easing the phase-out of Los Angeles\u2019 once-through cooled power plants. AB 1180, by Bradford, requires the State Water Resources Control Board to weigh the Los Angles Department of Water & Power\u2019s ongoing push to alter the mandated replacement or phase-out dates of certain power plants. These \u201conce-through\u201d projects use large quantities of sea water for cooling hot turbines. The consumption and effluent from the plants harm the aquatic ecosystem and the state is trying to shut them down or move to dry cooling technology. LA requested an extension of the dates for closing three plants and shortening of the phase out time for others. Under the proposal released last May by water board staff, the life of Haynes units 1 and 2 would be extended to 2027 from 2019. The Harbor unit 5 phase out would be pushed back from the end of 2015 to the end of 2035. The existing operation of Scattergood units 1 and 2 would be extended to 2024 from 2015. At the same time, water cooling would be history at Haynes units 5 and 6 at the end of 2013 instead of 2019. The phase out of one of the three Scattergood units would be moved from 2020 to the end of 2015. Also passed by the Senate environmental panel June 20 was AB 146 by Assemblymember Roger Dickerson (D-Sacramento). It expands the Air Board from 11 to 13 members. The bill, passed 4-1, adds a member who has climate change expertise and another who represents a district in the Sacramento region, which fails to meet the federal ozone standard.