News and analysis about energy in California with an eye toward renewables.

Legislative Wrapup: Jerry Brown Signs 19 Clean Energy Bills

California Governor Jerry Brown in 2010 | Photo: Jerry Brown 2010 campaign/Flickr/

Calling an end to the 2012 legislative session, California Governor Jerry Brown signed 19 bills relating to renewable energy and energy efficiency, vetoing a few that he felt the state couldn't afford. The Governor's deadline for signing or vetoing bills passed by the Legislature during the past session was September 30.

Among the bills signed by Governor Brown were Senator Mark Leno's SB 1222, which caps fees for rooftop solar construction permits statewide, and AB 1255 by Assemblymember Manuel Pérez, which streamlines the permitting process for extracting lithium and other valuable minerals from geothermal waste water.

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Brown vetoed SB 1537 by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), which would have regulated utility fees for net metering customers, and AB 796 by Assemblymember Robert Blumenfield (D-Van Nuys) which would have created a clean energy jobs incentive program.

In a move sure to cheer fans of decentralized renewable energy, Brown also vetoed AB 976 by Assemblymember Isadore Hall III, which would have enacted extremely strict conflict-of-interest laws over companies that provided consulting services to Community Choice Aggregation programs. Opponents of the bill said that it unfairly interfered in the ability of newly established Community Choice Aggregation programs -- which they pretty much all are, in California -- to buy power from renewable energy providers. Those opponents had been urging Brown to veto the bill for the last month. In his veto message, Brown said

This goes too far -- local governments already have plenty of laws on conflicts of interest and transparent decision making. Adding the restriction in this bill would serve only to impede efforts to establish community choice energy programs.

Brown signed one law that will increase the state's bioenergy program by requiring the California Public Utilities Commission 9CPUC) to add 250 megawatts of biomass power to the state's feed-in tariff program. In signing the bill, SB1122 by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield), Brown urged the CPUC and local governments to consult over potential harm to air quality from biomass-fueled power plants.

Additonal bills signed by the Governor last week, from a list provided by the Governor's office:

• AB 693 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) - Local government: Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority.
• AB 1124 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) - Landlord and tenant.
• AB 1900 by Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) - Renewable energy resources: biomethane.
• AB 2165 by Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-South San Francisco) - Net energy metering: eligible fuel cell customer-generators.
• AB 2187 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) - Renewable energy resources.
• AB 2196 by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Eureka) - Renewable energy resources.
• AB 2227 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) - Local publicly owned electric utilities: State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission: reporting.
• AB 2249 by Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon) - Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007.
• AB 2339 by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) - Energy: geothermal technologies.
• AB 2514 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) - Net energy metering.
• SB 594 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) - Energy: net energy metering.
• SB 1066 by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) - Coastal resources: climate change.
• SB 1207 by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) - California Alternate Rates for Energy program.
• SB 1268 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) - Energy: energy conservation assistance.
• SB 1332 by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) - Renewable energy resources: electric utilities.

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About the Author

Chris Clarke is a natural history writer and environmental journalist currently at work on a book about the Joshua tree. He lives in Joshua Tree.
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