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SB-345 Energy programs and projects: nonenergy benefits.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 02/09/2021 09:00 PM
SB345:v99#DOCUMENT


CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 345


Introduced by Senator Becker

February 09, 2021


An act to add Section 383 to the Public Utilities Code, relating to energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 345, as introduced, Becker. Energy programs and projects: nonenergy benefits.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including electrical corporations and gas corporations. Pursuant to existing law, the commission supervises various energy efficiency, renewable energy resource, self-generation, distributed generation, and demand response programs.
This bill would require the commission to (1) establish common definitions of nonenergy benefits, as defined, and attempt to determine consistent values for use in all distributed energy resource, as defined, programs, (2) incorporate nonenergy benefits in distributed energy resource programs and projects, and (3) track the nonenergy benefits produced in distributed energy resource programs during program evaluations.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Nonenergy benefits is a broad term that describes the impacts of energy programs and projects to program participants beyond the generation, conservation, and transportation of energy.
(b) Common nonenergy benefits include lower energy costs, increased property value, improved public health, increased energy reliability, and much more. Nonenergy benefits also help correct historic disparities in accessing programs.
(c) The Public Utilities Commission already quantifies nonenergy benefits, but does not consistently apply that analysis to all decisions.
(d) As a result, decisions of the Public Utilities Commission are not strategic in selecting projects with the most cobenefits, and have led to lack of meaningful access to programs in low-income and environmental justice communities where cobenefits would be most meaningful.
(e) To address this disparity in accessing clean energy programs, a recent study completed by the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission pursuant to the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (Chapter 547 of the Statutes of 2015) recommended California “[e]stablish common definitions of nonenergy benefits, develop standards to measure them, and attempt to determine consistent values for use in all energy programs.”
(f) Incorporating nonenergy benefits provides greater cost effectiveness to all ratepayers by increasing the cobenefits produced by public investments.
(g) Incorporating and tracking nonenergy benefits is critical to ensure that California’s transition to a clean energy economy is as quick, efficient, and equitable as possible.

SEC. 2.

 Section 383 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

383.
 (a) It is the intent of the Legislature that the commission incorporate nonenergy benefits into decisions regarding distributed energy resources to ensure consistency in funding recommendations, to correct historic disparities in accessing these technologies, and to ensure investments are as strategic and beneficial as possible.
(b) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Distributed energy resources” means distributed renewable generation resources, energy efficiency, energy storage, electric vehicles, and demand response technologies.
(2) “Nonenergy benefits” means the array of diverse impacts of energy programs and projects beyond the generation, conservation, and transportation of energy. Nonenergy benefits exist in three overarching categories: participant nonenergy benefits, utility nonenergy benefits, and societal nonenergy benefits.
(c) The commission shall do all of the following:
(1) Establish common definitions of nonenergy benefits and attempt to determine consistent values for use in all distributed energy resource programs.
(2) Incorporate nonenergy benefits in distributed energy resource programs and projects.
(3) Track the nonenergy benefits produced in distributed energy resource programs during program evaluations.