Microgrid Tariffs and EVs Gain Traction in California Legislature as Session Nears End

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California lawmakers continue to press ahead with a clean energy agenda as they near the session’s August 31 close, advancing  a microgrid bill this week and passing what Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is calling landmark electric vehicle legislation.

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The microgrid bill, Senate Bill 1339, requires that the California Public Utilities Commission set up rates and tariffs to support microgrids. The bill progressed Monday from Assembly Appropriations Committee to the Utilities and Energy Committee.

The bill passed the Senate in a 29-8 vote in late May and underwent revision in committee July 5.

Sponsored by Sen. Henry Stern, a Democrat, the bill promotes clean energy microgrids while prohibiting utilities from issuing permits for those that use diesel backup or gas combustion.

Meanwhile, AB 2127, meant to accelerate electric vehicle deployment passed the Senate Monday in a unanimous 38-0 vote following the Assembly’s nearly unanimous 76-1 vote on May 29.

Sponsored by AEE, the bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature.

The electric vehicle bill affirms the California Energy Commission’s authority to perform, and regularly update, a statewide needs assessment for infrastructure build-out covering all vehicle classes, according to AEE, which sees the legislation as a key element in fulfilling the state’s goal to get five million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030.

The electric vehicle bill, in essence, allows for better planning of a statewide build-out of charging infrastructure, according to AEE.

“This is an important step for California as it blazes the trail toward an electric transportation future,” said Amisha Rai, senior director of California policy for AEE.

AEE recently released employment data showing that California has more than 542,000 people working in advanced energy — a figure that exceeds the number of workers in hospitals (395,419), and nearly twice as many as those working at supermarkets and grocery stores (297,167) across the state.

California leads the nation in advanced energy employment with more than one in every six of the 3.4 million people working in U.S. advanced energy located in the state, according to AEE.

The significant job figures are in part due to AEE’s definition of advanced energy, which encompasses a range of technologies, among them energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage, natural gas electric generation, solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, electric vehicles, biofuels and smart grid.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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