While a bill creating more financing options for ratepayers to clear the way for renewable and energy efficiency retrofits was the main focus of this week\u2019s Senate Energy Utilities & Communicaitons Committee hearing April 24, several other bills passed. They include ones to help the biogas industry and another freezing net metering changes to support solar projects. Legislation by Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) requires the California Energy Commission to develop transparent commercial building energy efficiency standards. Passed 13-0, SB 1130 directs that standardization of state and national efficiency rules. Legislation seeking to jump start biogas projects at landfills, dairies, and food processing plants, also made the cut. Sen. Michael Rubio\u2019s (D-Fresno) measure directs the private utilities to procure a total of 250 MW of energy from small biogas projects. His SB 1122 passed on a 12-0 vote. \u201cWe have the technology but lack the opportunities,\u201d said Michael Boccadero, Agriculture Energy Consumers Association lobbyist. Other bills the committee approved this week include: -SB 1165 by Sen. Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles) makes the California Public Utilities Commission\u2019s intervenor compensation available to schools. The senator highlighted the funding constraints that keep schools from being able to participate in CPUC dockets that directly impact them, including in the areas of solar funding and rate setting. \u201cThis is more about impacting policy than creating a revenue stream for schools,\u201d Wright said. It passed 10-1. -SB 1207 by Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) directs \u201cmore random audits\u201d of a low income assistance program to avoid fraud. The legislation, passed 12-0, directs that \u201cheavily subsidized\u201d high energy users in the program for struggling ratepayers prove their California Alternate Rates for Energy program eligibility. -Sen. Fran Pavley\u2019s (D-Santa Monica) SB 1409 directs the state Director of the Office of Planning and Research to coordinate state renewable and energy efficiency research and development programs with those of the Department of Defense. DOD is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to grow clean and efficient energy to increase national security. For every 50 fuel convoys one marine is killed or wounded, she noted. Defense would be an \u201coutstanding partner\u201d for California, said Pavley (D-Santa Monica), adding her bill helps ensure that the military invest in California to create state jobs, particularly for veterans. It passed 12-0. -SB 1533 by Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) allows the California Attorney General to continue representing the defunct Electricity Oversight Board--created at the beginning of the last decade--in the remaining 2000-01 energy crisis lawsuits. It passed on a 12-0 vote. -SB 1537 by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) sets a one-year moratorium on new charges to net metering. A coalition of solar companies in San Diego complained that San Diego Gas & Electric rate increases adversely impacted their businesses by making solar installations uneconomic. It passed 10-1. Failing passage, but granted reconsideration were bills curbing the authority of the California Public Utilities president and seeking to have large hydropower play a larger role in the California energy market. -Sen. Leland Yee\u2019s (D-San Francisco) SB 998 would remove the authority of the CPUC president to decide which member heads a designated docket, giving instead the power to the five-member commission. \u201cIt is not about the individual, but what is good policy and good government,\u201d Yee said. Committee chair Padilla said the measure was over kill because lawmakers have the power to confirm or reject CPUC appointees. -A bill by Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Modesto) excluding big hydropower from total utility retail sales also fizzled. Large hydro doesn\u2019t count towards the renewable mandate but subtracting the resource from total retail energy sales when calculating how much alternative power is to be procured to satisfy the state\u2019s one-third green power mandate lowers the amount of green power to be bought. SB 971 was criticized for advancing hydropower at the expense of solar projects. \u201cIf the object of the bill is to purchase commodities this bill makes no sense. If it is carbon reduction this bill makes excellent sense,\u201d said Sen. Rod Wright (D-Los Angeles).