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AB-1941 California Renewables Portfolio Standard: hydroelectric and nuclear generation and suspension.(2019-2020)

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Date Published: 02/18/2020 09:00 PM
AB1941:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  February 18, 2020

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1941


Introduced by Assembly Member Gallagher
(Principal coauthor: Senator Nielsen)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Brough, Choi, Megan Dahle, Fong, Lackey, Mathis, Obernolte, and Waldron)
(Coauthor: Senator Dahle)

January 16, 2020


An act to amend Section 44258.5 of the Health and Safety Code, and to amend Sections 399.12, 399.25, 399.30, and 454.53 of, to add Section 399.27 to, and to repeal Sections 399.12.5 and 399.20.5 of, the Public Utilities Code, relating to renewable energy.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1941, as amended, Gallagher. California Renewables Portfolio Standard: hydroelectric and nuclear generation and suspension.
Existing law establishes the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program, which requires the Public Utilities Commission to implement annual procurement targets for the procurement of eligible renewable energy resources, as defined, for all retail sellers, as defined, and requires local publicly owned electric utilities to adopt and implement a renewable energy resources procurement plan to achieve the targets and goals of the program. Eligible renewable energy resources include small hydroelectric generation facilities of 30 megawatts or less that meet specified criteria.
Existing law states that it is the policy of the state that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100% of retail sales of electricity to California end-use customers and 100% of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045.
This bill would revise the definition of an eligible renewable energy resource for the purposes of the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program to include all hydroelectric generating facilities in operation as of January 1, 2021, and nuclear electric generating facilities and would make conforming changes.
This bill would suspend the requirements of the program and the state policy that are applicable to retail sellers. The bill would terminate the suspensions if the commission makes unspecified factual determinations and issues an order reinstating those requirements. The bill would require the commission to determine the amount saved by an electrical corporation due to the suspension and would require the electrical corporation to expend that amount to improve its transmission and distribution infrastructure to minimize the risk of wildfire ignition. The bill would require the commission to require retail sellers to maintain their procurement levels of bioenergy products under the agreements in effect as of December 31, 2020, for the duration of the suspension. The bill would prohibit electrical corporations from increasing the salaries of, or providing bonuses to, their executive officers during the suspension of the program’s requirements.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because the provisions of this bill would be a part of the act and because a violation of an order or decision of the commission implementing its requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

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


SECTION 1.

 Section 44258.5 of the Health and Safety Code is amended to read:

44258.5.
 (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms mean the following:
(1) “Local publicly owned electric utility” has the same meaning as defined in Section 224.3 of the Public Utilities Code.
(2) “Retail seller” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 399.12 of the Public Utilities Code.
(3) “Transportation electrification” has the same meaning as set forth in Section 237.5 of the Public Utilities Code.
(b) The state board shall identify and adopt appropriate policies, rules, or regulations to remove regulatory disincentives preventing retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities from facilitating the achievement of greenhouse gas emission reductions in other sectors through increased investments in transportation electrification. Policies to be considered shall include, but are not limited to, an allocation of greenhouse gas emissions allowances to retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities, or other regulatory mechanisms, to account for increased greenhouse gas emissions in the electric sector from transportation electrification.

SEC. 2.

 Section 399.12 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

399.12.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Balancing authority” means the responsible entity that integrates resource plans ahead of time, maintains load-interchange generation balance within a balancing authority area, and supports interconnection frequency in real time.
(b) “Balancing authority area” means the collection of generation, transmission, and loads within the metered boundaries of the area within which the balancing authority maintains the electrical load-resource balance.
(c) “California balancing authority” is a balancing authority with control over a balancing authority area primarily located in this state and operating for retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities subject to the requirements of this article and includes the Independent System Operator (ISO) and a local publicly owned electric utility operating a transmission grid that is not under the operational control of the ISO. A California balancing authority is responsible for the operation of the transmission grid within its metered boundaries which is not limited by the political boundaries of the State of California.
(d) (1) “Eligible renewable energy resource” means a hydroelectric generating facility in operation as of January 1, 2021, a nuclear electric generating facility, or any electrical generating facility that meets the definition of a “renewable electrical generation facility” in Section 25741 of the Public Resources Code.
(2) (A) A facility engaged in the combustion of municipal solid waste shall not be considered an eligible renewable energy resource.
(B) Subparagraph (A) does not apply to generation before January 1, 2017, from a facility located in Stanislaus County that was operational prior to September 26, 1996.
(e) “Procure” means to acquire through ownership or contract.
(f) “Procurement entity” means any person or corporation authorized by the commission to enter into contracts to procure eligible renewable energy resources on behalf of customers of a retail seller pursuant to subdivision (f) of Section 399.13.
(g) (1) “Renewable energy credit” means a certificate of proof associated with the generation of electricity from an eligible renewable energy resource, issued through the accounting system established by the Energy Commission pursuant to Section 399.25, that one unit of electricity was generated and delivered by an eligible renewable energy resource.
(2) “Renewable energy credit” includes all renewable and environmental attributes associated with the production of electricity from the eligible renewable energy resource, except for an emissions reduction credit issued pursuant to Section 40709 of the Health and Safety Code and any credits or payments associated with the reduction of solid waste and treatment benefits created by the utilization of biomass or biogas fuels.
(3) (A) Electricity generated by an eligible renewable energy resource attributable to the use of nonrenewable fuels, beyond a de minimis quantity used to generate electricity in the same process through which the facility converts renewable fuel to electricity, shall not result in the creation of a renewable energy credit. The Energy Commission shall set the de minimis quantity of nonrenewable fuels for each renewable energy technology at a level of no more than 2 percent of the total quantity of fuel used by the technology to generate electricity. The Energy Commission may adjust the de minimis quantity for an individual facility, up to a maximum of 5 percent, if it finds that all of the following conditions are met:
(i) The facility demonstrates that the higher quantity of nonrenewable fuel will lead to an increase in generation from the eligible renewable energy facility that is significantly greater than generation from the nonrenewable fuel alone.
(ii) The facility demonstrates that the higher quantity of nonrenewable fuels will reduce the variability of its electrical output in a manner that results in net environmental benefits to the state.
(iii) The higher quantity of nonrenewable fuel is limited to either natural gas or hydrogen derived by reformation of a fossil fuel.
(B) Electricity generated by a small hydroelectric generation facility shall not result in the creation of a renewable energy credit unless the facility meets the requirements of subparagraph (A) or (D) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (e).
(C) Electricity generated by a conduit hydroelectric generation facility shall not result in the creation of a renewable energy credit unless the facility meets the requirements of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (e).
(D) Electricity generated by a facility engaged in the combustion of municipal solid waste shall not result in the creation of a renewable energy credit. This subparagraph does not apply to renewable energy credits that were generated before January 1, 2017, by a facility engaged in the combustion of municipal solid waste located in Stanislaus County that was operational prior to September 26, 1996, and sold pursuant to contacts entered into before January 1, 2017.
(h) “Renewables portfolio standard” means the specified percentage of electricity generated by eligible renewable energy resources that a retail seller or a local publicly owned electric utility is required to procure pursuant to this article.
(i) “Retail seller” means an entity engaged in the retail sale of electricity to end-use customers located within the state, including any of the following:
(1) An electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218.
(2) A community choice aggregator. A community choice aggregator shall participate in the renewables portfolio standard program subject to the same terms and conditions applicable to an electrical corporation.
(3) An electric service provider, as defined in Section 218.3. The electric service provider shall be subject to the same terms and conditions applicable to an electrical corporation pursuant to this article. This paragraph does not impair a contract entered into between an electric service provider and a retail customer prior to the suspension of direct access by the commission pursuant to Section 80110 of the Water Code.
(4) “Retail seller” does not include any of the following:
(A) A corporation or person employing cogeneration technology or producing electricity consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 218.
(B) The Department of Water Resources acting in its capacity pursuant to Division 27 (commencing with Section 80000) of the Water Code.
(C) A local publicly owned electric utility.
(j) “WECC” means the Western Electricity Coordinating Council of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, or a successor to the corporation.

SEC. 3.

 Section 399.12.5 of the Public Utilities Code, as amended by Section 240 of Chapter 497 of the Statutes of 2019, is repealed.

SEC. 4.

 Section 399.20.5 of the Public Utilities Code is repealed.

SEC. 5.

 Section 399.25 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

399.25.
 The Energy Commission shall do all of the following:
(a) Certify eligible renewable energy resources that it determines meet the criteria described in subdivision (d) of Section 399.12.
(b) Design and implement an accounting system to verify compliance with the renewables portfolio standard by retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities, to ensure that electricity generated by an eligible renewable energy resource is counted only once for the purpose of meeting the renewables portfolio standard of this state or any other state, to certify renewable energy credits produced by eligible renewable energy resources, and to verify retail product claims in this state or any other state. In establishing the guidelines governing this accounting system, the Energy Commission shall collect data from electricity market participants that it deems necessary to verify compliance of retail sellers and local publicly owned electric utilities, in accordance with the requirements of this article and the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code). In seeking data from electrical corporations, the Energy Commission shall request data from the commission. The commission shall collect data from electrical corporations and remit the data to the Energy Commission within 90 days of the request.
(c) Establish a system for tracking and verifying renewable energy credits that, through the use of independently audited data, verifies the generation of electricity associated with each renewable energy credit and protects against multiple counting of the same renewable energy credit. The Energy Commission shall consult with other western states and with the WECC in the development of this system.
(d) Certify, for purposes of compliance with the renewables portfolio standard requirements by a retail seller, the eligibility of renewable energy credits associated with eligible renewable energy resources procured by a local publicly owned electric utility, if the Energy Commission determines that all of the conditions of Section 399.31 have been met.

SEC. 6.

 Section 399.27 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

399.27.
 (a) The requirements of this article applicable to retail sellers are hereby suspended.
(b) (1) Subdivision (a) shall become inoperative if the commission, in an open proceeding, makes certain factual determinations and issues an order requiring retail sellers to comply with the requirements of this article.
(2) The commencing and concluding dates of time periods set forth in subparagraphs (D) to (F), inclusive, of paragraph (1) of subdivision (b) of Section 399.15 that are later than January 1, 2021, shall be postponed by the amount of time that subdivision (a) is operative.
(c) (1) For the time period in which subdivision (a) is operative, the commission shall determine the amount that is saved by an electrical corporation due to the suspension of the requirements of this article and require that amount be used by the electrical corporation for improvements to the distribution and transmission infrastructure of the electrical corporation to minimize the risk of wildfire ignition.
(2) For the time period during which subdivision (a) is operative, an electrical corporation shall not increase the salaries of, or provide bonuses to, its executive officers.
(d) (1) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the commission shall require each retail seller to procure bioenergy products at the level of procurement of that retail seller under the agreements in effect as of December 31, 2020, during the time period in which subdivision (a) is operative.
(2) For purposes of this subdivision, “bioenergy” has the same meaning as set forth in paragraph (5) of subdivision (f) of Section 399.20.

SEC. 7.

 Section 399.30 of the Public Utilities Code, as amended by Section 3 of Chapter 401 of the Statutes of 2019, is amended to read:

399.30.
 (a) (1) To fulfill unmet long-term generation resource needs, each local publicly owned electric utility shall adopt and implement a renewable energy resources procurement plan that requires the utility to procure a minimum quantity of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources, including renewable energy credits, as a specified percentage of total kilowatthours sold to the utility’s retail end-use customers, each compliance period, to achieve the targets of subdivision (c).
(2) Beginning January 1, 2019, a local publicly owned electric utility subject to Section 9621 shall incorporate the renewable energy resources procurement plan required by this section as part of a broader integrated resource plan developed and adopted pursuant to Section 9621.
(b) The governing board shall implement procurement targets for a local publicly owned electric utility that require the utility to procure a minimum quantity of eligible renewable energy resources for each of the following compliance periods:
(1) January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2013, inclusive.
(2) January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2016, inclusive.
(3) January 1, 2017, to December 31, 2020, inclusive.
(4) January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2024, inclusive.
(5) January 1, 2025, to December 31, 2027, inclusive.
(6) January 1, 2028, to December 31, 2030, inclusive.
(c) The governing board of a local publicly owned electric utility shall ensure all of the following:
(1) The quantities of eligible renewable energy resources to be procured for the compliance period from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2013, inclusive, are equal to an average of 20 percent of retail sales.
(2) The quantities of eligible renewable energy resources to be procured for all other compliance periods reflect reasonable progress in each of the intervening years sufficient to ensure that the procurement of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources achieves 25 percent of retail sales by December 31, 2016, 33 percent by December 31, 2020, 44 percent by December 31, 2024, 52 percent by December 31, 2027, and 60 percent by December 31, 2030. The Energy Commission shall establish appropriate multiyear compliance periods for all subsequent years that require the local publicly owned electric utility to procure not less than 60 percent of retail sales of electricity products from eligible renewable energy resources.
(3) A local publicly owned electric utility shall adopt procurement requirements consistent with Section 399.16.
(4) Beginning January 1, 2014, in calculating the procurement requirements under this article, a local publicly owned electric utility may exclude from its total retail sales the kilowatthours generated by an eligible renewable energy resource that is credited to a participating customer pursuant to a voluntary green pricing or shared renewable generation program. Any exclusion shall be limited to electricity products that do not meet the portfolio content criteria set forth in paragraph (2) or (3) of subdivision (b) of Section 399.16. Any renewable energy credits associated with electricity credited to a participating customer shall not be used for compliance with procurement requirements under this article, shall be retired on behalf of the participating customer, and shall not be further sold, transferred, or otherwise monetized for any purpose. To the extent possible for generation that is excluded from retail sales under this subdivision, a local publicly owned electric utility shall seek to procure those eligible renewable energy resources that are located in reasonable proximity to program participants.
(d) (1) The governing board of a local publicly owned electric utility shall adopt procurement requirements consistent with subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (a) of, and subdivision (b) of, Section 399.13.
(2) The governing board of a local publicly owned electric utility may adopt the following measures:
(A) Conditions that allow for delaying timely compliance consistent with subdivision (b) of Section 399.15.
(B) Cost limitations for procurement expenditures consistent with subdivision (c) of Section 399.15.
(e) The governing board of the local publicly owned electric utility shall adopt a program for the enforcement of this article. The program shall be adopted at a publicly noticed meeting offering all interested parties an opportunity to comment. Not less than 30 days’ notice shall be given to the public of any meeting held for purposes of adopting the program. Not less than 10 days’ notice shall be given to the public before any meeting is held to make a substantive change to the program.
(f) Each local publicly owned electric utility shall annually post notice, in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 54950) of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code), whenever its governing body will deliberate in public on its renewable energy resources procurement plan.
(g) A public utility district that receives all of its electricity pursuant to a preference right adopted and authorized by the United States Congress pursuant to Section 4 of the Trinity River Division Act of August 12, 1955 (Public Law 84-386), shall be in compliance with the renewable energy procurement requirements of this article.
(h) For a local publicly owned electric utility that was in existence on or before January 1, 2009, that provides retail electric service to 15,000 or fewer customer accounts in California, and is interconnected to a balancing authority located outside this state but within the WECC, an eligible renewable energy resource includes a facility that is located outside California that is connected to the WECC transmission system, if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) The electricity generated by the facility is procured by the local publicly owned electric utility, is delivered to the balancing authority area in which the local publicly owned electric utility is located, and is not used to fulfill renewable energy procurement requirements of other states.
(2) The local publicly owned electric utility participates in, and complies with, the accounting system administered by the Energy Commission pursuant to this article.
(3) The Energy Commission verifies that the electricity generated by the facility is eligible to meet the renewables portfolio standard procurement requirements.
(i) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), for a local publicly owned electric utility that is a joint powers authority of districts established pursuant to state law on or before January 1, 2005, that furnishes electric services other than to residential customers, and is formed pursuant to the Irrigation District Law (Division 11 (commencing with Section 20500) of the Water Code), the percentage of total kilowatthours sold to the district’s retail end-use customers, upon which the renewables portfolio standard procurement requirements in subdivision (b) are calculated, shall be based on the authority’s average retail sales over the previous seven years. If the authority has not furnished electric service for seven years, then the calculation shall be based on average retail sales over the number of completed years during which the authority has provided electric service.
(j) (1) (A) For purposes of this subdivision, “unavoidable long-term contracts and ownership agreements” means commitments for electricity from a coal-fired powerplant, located outside the state, originally entered into by a local publicly owned electric utility before June 1, 2010, that is not subsequently modified to result in an extension of the duration of the agreement or result in an increase in total quantities of energy delivered during any compliance period set forth in subdivision (b).
(B) The governing board of a local publicly owned electric utility shall demonstrate in its renewable energy resources procurement plan required pursuant to subdivision (a) that any cancellation or divestment of the commitment would result in significant economic harm to its retail customers that cannot be substantially mitigated through resale, transfer to another entity, early closure of the facility, or other feasible measures.
(2) For the compliance period set forth in paragraph (4) of subdivision (b), a local publicly owned electric utility meeting the requirement of subparagraph (B) of paragraph (1) may adjust its renewable energy procurement targets to ensure that the procurement of additional electricity from eligible renewable energy resources, in combination with the procurement of electricity from unavoidable long-term contracts and ownership agreements, does not exceed the total retail sales of the local publicly owned electric utility during that compliance period. The local publicly owned electric utility may limit its procurement of eligible renewable energy resources for that compliance period to no less than an average of 33 percent of its retail sales.
(3) The Energy Commission shall approve any reductions in procurement targets proposed by a local publicly owned electric utility if it determines that the requirements of this subdivision are satisfied.
(k) A local publicly owned electric utility shall retain discretion over both of the following:
(1) The mix of eligible renewable energy resources procured by the utility and those additional generation resources procured by the utility for purposes of ensuring resource adequacy and reliability.
(2) The reasonable costs incurred by the utility for eligible renewable energy resources owned by the utility.
(l) The Energy Commission shall adopt regulations specifying procedures for enforcement of this article. The regulations shall include a public process under which the Energy Commission may issue a notice of violation and correction against a local publicly owned electric utility for failure to comply with this article, and for referral of violations to the State Air Resources Board for penalties pursuant to subdivision (m).
(m) (1) Upon a determination by the Energy Commission that a local publicly owned electric utility has failed to comply with this article, the Energy Commission shall refer the failure to comply with this article to the State Air Resources Board, which may impose penalties to enforce this article consistent with Part 6 (commencing with Section 38580) of Division 25.5 of the Health and Safety Code. Any penalties imposed shall be comparable to those adopted by the commission for noncompliance by retail sellers.
(2) Any penalties collected by the State Air Resources Board pursuant to this article shall be deposited in the Air Pollution Control Fund and, upon appropriation by the Legislature, shall be expended for reducing emissions of air pollution or greenhouse gases within the same geographic area as the local publicly owned electric utility.

SEC. 8.

 Section 454.53 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

454.53.
 (a) It is the policy of the state that eligible renewable energy resources and zero-carbon resources supply 100 percent of all retail sales of electricity to California end-use customers and 100 percent of electricity procured to serve all state agencies by December 31, 2045. The achievement of this policy for California shall not increase carbon emissions elsewhere in the western grid and shall not allow resource shuffling. The commission and Energy Commission, in consultation with the State Air Resources Board, shall take steps to ensure that a transition to a zero-carbon electric system for the State of California does not cause or contribute to greenhouse gas emissions increases elsewhere in the western grid, and is undertaken in a manner consistent with clause 3 of Section 8 of Article I of the United States Constitution. The commission, the Energy Commission, the State Air Resources Board, and all other state agencies shall incorporate this policy into all relevant planning.
(b) The commission, Energy Commission, state board, and all other state agencies shall ensure that actions taken in furtherance of subdivision (a) do all of the following:
(1) Maintain and protect the safety, reliable operation, and balancing of the electric system.
(2) Prevent unreasonable impacts to electricity, gas, and water customer rates and bills resulting from implementation of this section, taking into full consideration the economic and environmental costs and benefits of renewable energy and zero-carbon resources.
(3) To the extent feasible and authorized under law, lead to the adoption of policies and taking of actions in other sectors to obtain greenhouse gas emission reductions that ensure equity between other sectors and the electricity sector.
(4) Not affect in any manner the rules and requirements for the oversight of, and enforcement against, retail sellers and local publicly owned utilities pursuant to the California Renewables Portfolio Standard Program (Article 16 (commencing with Section 399.11) of Chapter 2.3) and Sections 454.51, 454.52, 9621, and 9622.
(c) Nothing in this section shall affect a retail seller’s obligation to comply with the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 2601 et seq.).
(d) The commission, Energy Commission, and state board shall do both of the following:
(1) Utilize programs authorized under existing statutes to achieve the policy described in subdivision (a).
(2) In consultation with all California balancing authorities, as defined in Section 399.12, as part of a public process, issue a joint report to the Legislature by January 1, 2021, and at least every four years thereafter. The joint report shall include all of the following:
(A) A review of the policy described in subdivision (a) focused on technologies, forecasts, then-existing transmission, and maintaining safety, environmental and public safety protection, affordability, and system and local reliability.
(B) An evaluation identifying the potential benefits and impacts on system and local reliability associated with achieving the policy described in subdivision (a).
(C) An evaluation identifying the nature of any anticipated financial costs and benefits to electric, gas, and water utilities, including customer rate impacts and benefits.
(D) The barriers to, and benefits of, achieving the policy described in subdivision (a).
(E) Alternative scenarios in which the policy described in subdivision (a) can be achieved and the estimated costs and benefits of each scenario.
(e) Nothing in this section authorizes the commission to establish any requirements on a nonmobile self-cogeneration or cogeneration facility that served onsite load, or that served load pursuant to an over-the-fence arrangement if that arrangement existed on or before December 20, 1995.
(f) (1) The requirements of this section that are applicable to retail sellers, as defined in Section 399.12, are hereby suspended.
(2) (A) Paragraph (1) shall become inoperative if the commission issues the order specified in Section 399.27.
(B) The date by which this section requires achievement of the policy specified in subdivision (a) shall be postponed by the amount of time that paragraph (1) is operative.

SEC. 9.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.