California Assembly Approves Community Renewable Energy Bill
The California State Assembly enacted legislation that will boost community renewable energy and improve grid stability in the state.
The bill, AB 2316, creates a state community renewable energy programme that makes clean energy more accessible to all companies, whether they rent or own property. The law also imposes energy storage restrictions on community solar projects that are intended to improve grid dependability, which can assist the state during power outages caused by excessive demand or natural disasters.
The bill mandates that the California Public Utilities Commission facilitate the development and funding of sustainable community renewable energy facilities and provides financial incentives for facilities that serve low-income customers or groups that help disadvantaged communities. It will assist builders in meeting California rules mandating solar energy be placed in new buildings, besides providing access to renewable energy projects such as community solar.
Supporters of the plan also claim that a $1 billion investment in the state budget is required to fund the programme. According to the Energy News Network, California's budget for 2022–2023 included $32 billion to address climate concerns, including $970 million for rooftop solar and storage but no explicit funding for community solar.
According to the Coalition for Community Solar Access, community solar projects typically consist of small-scale installations, generally built on landfills or old industrial areas, and now account for more than 5 gigawatts of electricity. The Biden Administration's aim of achieving 100 per cent sustainable energy by 2035 includes community solar, and the Department of Energy formed the National Community Solar Partnership last year.
By March 31, 2023, the California Public Utilities Commission is required to begin proceedings to establish a community renewable energy programme. It also mandates that the commission assess existing programmes by the end of 2023 to determine if they fit the legislation's standards and, if so, whether they should be modified, retained, or eliminated.
The bill has been opposed by utility companies like Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, in part because it overlaps with existing programmes and could force them to offer services in places where they are no longer operational.
Source: Environmental Leader