The California legislature failed to establish clean energy leadership last week by not passing Assembly Bill (AB) 813 (Holden). The bill would have expanded California’s electric grid and integrated it with the transmission systems of neighboring states, such as Oregon, Arizona, and Nevada. This would have allowed California to increase its investment in clean energy resources and reduce costs to customers by trading excess energy with participating states.
“AB 813 was a missed opportunity for western states to modernize the grid and promote new clean energy investments,” said Lauren Navarro, Senior Policy Manager for California Clean Energy, Environmental Defense Fund.
“While we are disappointed AB 813 didn’t pass, we remain committed to supporting the state’s efforts to integrate more renewables and removing barriers to regional energy trading,” continued Navarro. “The world looks to California for clean energy leadership and we remain dedicated to encouraging the state to lead by example.”
Though a regional grid would help all participants integrate more clean energy, it would have been particularly helpful in California, where excess clean energy could have been sold instead of turned off or given away to nearby states for free.
“Approximately 60% of the clean energy curtailed in California is due to excess generation,” added Navarro. “The state already generates more clean electricity than the grid can absorb. At some point, not being able to sell this electricity is going to slow investment in new solar projects, hurting California companies and jobs.
The failure of AB 813 comes just two days after the legislature passed Senate Bill (SB) 100, which mandates California obtain 100% of its electricity from clean sources by 2045 and requires electric providers to generate 60% of their electricity from clean sources by 2030.
“A regional grid would have been a great boon for the effectiveness of all this new clean energy on California’s grid,” said Navarro. “Time will tell how this decision affects the ability of California to meet the goals of SB 100, build a thriving energy economy and a healthier environment.”
Filed Under: News, Policy