Advocacy Update, June 2020
California Energy Commission
One of the positive benefits of the pandemic quarantine has been getting a chance to interact with high-level officials, such as Commissioners at the California Energy Commission, on a more personal level. It’s funny how, when you take them out of the formal setting of an official state meeting in Sacramento, it reminds you that they are hard-working people trying to get work done, just like the rest of us. Perhaps virtual meetings are an equalizer on some level, and that’s a good thing.
The energy commission held workshops on June 9th, and June 26th to get stakeholder feedback on the Fuel Substitution Scenario Analysis Tool (FSSAT). The tool will allow policymakers and others to predict greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fuel substitutions on a comparative basis. Many factors impact fuel substitution scenarios, such as; GHG reductions, the impact of HFC emissions (from refrigerants), technology replacement costs, utility rates, and load impacts, to name a few. All of these factors are critical considerations when proposing new legislation related to decarbonization. Written comments are due by July 10th.
SB 1477 – The design and implementation of the BUILD and TECH rebate programs are moving forward as we speak.
The BUILD program focuses on new construction, specifically low emission technology development for new construction. BUILD will support a variety of technologies such as battery storage, solar thermal, and other technologies that reduce building emissions.
The TECH program will support the adoption of low emission heating solutions, namely heat pumps for space and water heating. TECH will rely on midstream incentives by distributors to encourage heat pump adoption. Funding for SB 1477 comes from cap and trade revenue from fossil fuels. Currently, the program has $200m in funding over four years. The funds are split $120m for TECH and $80m for BUILD, with 75% of BUILD funds directed at low-income projects.
The pandemic has forced many of us to work from home. However, it cannot stop the wheels of progress, and State policymakers and other stakeholders are continuing to work on legislation intended to improve the future for all Californians.