California Cleantech Management in 2023



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After I began with Union of Involved Scientists again in January, the California legislative session was simply ramping up. As invoice introductions trickled in, it grew to become clear there can be loads of alternatives for UCS to leverage our science-based analysis to tell world-leading coverage options.

Because the trickle of payments grew to become a dashing river of committee hearings, funds negotiations, and flooring votes, not solely did we keep afloat, however we constructed a strong, evidence-backed raft that may preserve us skillfully navigating the treacherous white waters of the California legislature.

Now that I’ve reached the extent of my white-water rafting data, here’s a recap of our very productive session:

Electrical car directionality stalled however will return

UCS co-sponsored Senator Nancy Skinner’s Senate Invoice 233 (SB 233) which might have required all electrical autos to be bidirectional by 2030. Bidirectional means the battery in your electrical automotive powers the automotive (one route) and will present energy to your house, home equipment, energy instruments, and even the grid (the second route). Bidirectional succesful EVs might present big advantages to Californians when the ability goes out or when the grid is strained by excessive electrical energy demand.

The invoice stalled on the very finish of session, however the UCS will proceed to work to advance bidirectional charging in California.

Funding for zero-emission car and charging was renewed

UCS joined a broad coalition of environmental, environmental justice, enterprise and public well being teams to push for the extension of auto registration charges that will fund $170 million yearly for zero-emission car incentives and charging infrastructure.

After months of negotiations, at 11:40 pm on the final night time of session, Meeting Invoice 126 (Reyes) handed the Meeting flooring and now sits on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature!

This laws additionally included vital updates to the charge program that may guarantee these funds are spent within the communities that want them probably the most.

California’s vehicles cleaned up and defended

Talking of autos, over the previous two years, UCS advocated for the California Air Sources Board to strengthen and finally undertake the Superior Clear Fleets rule, which it did earlier this 12 months. This regulation requires 100% of latest medium- and heavy-duty vehicles (something from supply vans to huge rigs) offered in California to be zero emissions by 2036 and 100% of enormous fleets to be zero emissions by 2045.

electric truck

Picture courtesy of CARB

Earlier than we even had an opportunity to have fun that historic victory, {industry} pursuits pressured us to (efficiently) push again towards a invoice that will have exempted a big swath of California from complying with the rule. That invoice included an audit that might have undermined the rule earlier than it was even finalized.

There can be extra industry-led efforts to undermine the lifesaving, local weather crisis-slowing Superior Clear Fleets rule and we can be able to cease them of their tracks.

An vital step taken in direction of getting water rights proper

California’s water rights system is outdated, unjust, and must be reformed. We supported three payments this 12 months to provide the state further oversight and enforcement energy over senior water rights holders, who additionally occur to be among the many strongest company pursuits within the state.

Senate Invoice 389, which merely would give the State Water Board the long-overdue authority to substantiate that water rights holders have the water rights they are saying they do, handed the legislature and is on the governor’s desk.

The remaining payments, Meeting Invoice 460 and Meeting Invoice 1337, have been unable to make it out of the Senate Pure Sources and Water committee. They’re nonetheless alive and may be superior subsequent session; We is not going to cease working to go them.

To regionalize or to not regionalize stays unanswered

Early within the legislative session, Assemblymember Chris Holden launched Meeting Invoice 538 which might have modified the governance of the California’s grid operator from a governor-appointed board to an unbiased construction that will permit for a extra coordinated, region-wide grid.

UCS served as a useful resource to stakeholders, legislators, and legislative employees on all sides of this invoice by writing an in depth coverage temporary explaining the dangers and advantages of the proposal. Regionalizing the grid might permit California to make the most of renewable vitality in different states akin to wind energy from Wyoming and hydropower within the Pacific Northwest. Nevertheless it additionally would require California to surrender a few of its vitality autonomy.

Finally, the invoice didn’t go, however the thought lives on and UCS plans to remain engaged in a multi-state initiative to chart a considerate path in direction of regional grid coordination.

A win for offshore wind, geothermal energy, and long-duration storage

UCS supported Meeting Invoice 1373 by Assemblymember Eduardo García. This invoice would create a Central Procurement Entity that will permit the state to buy renewable vitality sources which are usually uncared for by utilities as a result of they take a very long time to develop and are too huge for a single utility to tackle by itself. These sources embody offshore wind, geothermal, and lengthy length storage akin to pumped hydro.

This invoice handed each the Meeting and Senate with large margins and the governor has already been vocal about his help.

California takes a world-leading stance on company accountability

Simply earlier than Governor Newsom and Legal professional Common Bonta introduced California’s historic lawsuit towards main fossil gasoline producers in September, the California legislature handed two payments that may additional assist the state maintain giant companies accountable.

Senate Invoice 253 by Senator Scott Wiener would require giant companies to transparently disclose the greenhouse fuel emission related to their complete provide chain. And Senate Invoice 261 by Senator Henry Stern would require these firms to publicly disclose their climate-related monetary threat.

UCS supported these payments. We joined three different environmental organizations who’re working to advance a rule on these points by the Securities and Trade Fee. We’re urging the governor to steer the nation and signal these payments. He has since publicly pledged to take action.

Be able to take motion

UCS goes to maintain pushing for the strongest, science-backed public insurance policies potential in California. The legislature is taking some much-needed day off, however it will likely be again in January 2024. We’ll preserve you up to date by way of our blogs, however please additionally control your inbox for alternatives to name your legislators or submit feedback to businesses.

Daniel Barad, the Western States Coverage Supervisor for the Union of Involved Scientists. Courtesy of Union of Involved Scientists, The Equation.


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