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ACA-18 Energy: nuclear energy.(2019-2020)

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ACA18:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Constitutional Amendment
No. 18


Introduced by Assembly Member Cunningham

August 28, 2019


A resolution to propose to the people of the State of California an amendment to the Constitution of the State, by amending Section 9 of, and by adding Section 11 to, Article XII thereof, relating to energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


ACA 18, as introduced, Cunningham. Energy: nuclear energy.
The California Constitution establishes the Public Utilities Commission with jurisdiction over all public utilities, subject to control by the Legislature. Existing statutory law establishes various programs to encourage the deployment of renewable energy and zero-carbon resources, as defined. One of these programs, the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, requires most retail sellers of electricity to procure a minimum quantity of their electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources, as defined.
This measure would require that the state’s programs relating to renewable energy and climate change include nuclear energy as a renewable energy resource and zero-carbon resource. The measure would require that the state’s programs relating to renewable energy and climate change include electrical generating facilities that use nuclear energy as renewable electrical generation facilities, eligible renewable energy resources, and zero-carbon resources. The measure would require renewable electrical generation facilities, eligible renewable energy resources, and zero-carbon resources to include, for licensing and certification purposes, electrical generating facilities that use nuclear energy. The measure would also prohibit the Legislature from enacting any law related to energy unless the law is technology neutral, as specified.
Vote: 2/3   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

WHEREAS, In 2018, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 100, which set an ambitious goal of achieving 100-percent carbon neutrality by 2045 by utilizing various forms of clean energy; and
WHEREAS, The California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program includes several forms of energy to help California reach its climate change goals, such as solar, biomass, and wind, but excludes nuclear power, which is another form of clean energy; and
WHEREAS, With the impending closure of the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in the County of San Luis Obispo, California’s energy grid will lose 9 percent of its total energy generation provided to California’s utility ratepayers; and
WHEREAS, The Diablo Canyon Power Plant generates 2.3 gigawatts of power at all times to both the regional and statewide energy grid with zero-carbon resources, making it one of the most affordable and cleanest energy options in California; and
WHEREAS, To combat climate change and achieve California’s clean energy goals, and provide ratepayers with an affordable source of clean energy, laws passed by the Legislature should not inhibit or discriminate against existing and new zero-emission energy technology; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Assembly, the Senate concurring, That the Legislature of the State of California at its 2019–20 Regular Session commencing on the third day of December 2018, two-thirds of the membership of each house concurring, hereby proposes to the people of the State of California, that the Constitution of the State be amended as follows:

First—

 That Section 9 of Article XII thereof is amended to read:

SEC. 9.
 The provisions Sections 1 to 8, inclusive, of this article restate all related provisions of the Constitution in effect immediately prior to the effective date of this amendment before November 5, 1974, and make no substantive change.

Second—

 That Section 11 is added to Article XII thereof, to read:

SEC. 11.
 (a) It is the intent of the people that nuclear energy be treated as the most environmentally protective and carbon-neutral energy resource for purposes of all state-supported programs and energy program-related laws.
(b) The State’s programs relating to renewable energy and climate change shall include nuclear energy as a renewable energy resource and zero-carbon resource.
(c) (1) The State’s programs relating to renewable energy and climate change shall include electrical generating facilities that use nuclear energy as renewable electrical generation facilities, eligible renewable energy resources, and zero-carbon resources.
(2) Renewable electrical generation facilities, eligible renewable energy resources, and zero-carbon resources shall include, for licensing and certification purposes, electrical generating facilities that use nuclear energy.
(3) For purposes of this subdivision, the terms “renewable electrical generation facilities,” “eligible renewable energy resources,” and “zero-carbon resources” shall be construed as those terms are used by the Public Utilities Commission in the programs that it administers and are in operation as of January 1, 2019, and in subsequent modifications to those programs and new programs, to the extent the use of those terms by the commission remains consistent with the purposes of this section.
(d) The Legislature shall not enact any law related to energy unless the law is technology neutral. “Technology neutral” means not discriminating against any form of renewable energy or zero-carbon resource, including, but not limited to, nuclear energy, that could help the State expand its renewable energy protection or its presence in the renewable energy market.