AB 813 Regional Grid Bill Defeated!

AB 813 was held up in the Senate and is no longer a threat to California!

How Regional Grid Expansion (AB 813) Threatens California’s Consumers and Climate Goals

The regional grid proposed in AB 813 (Holden, D-Pasadena) would likely mean higher monthly bills for California consumers, an increase in our use of coal and fossil fuels, higher GHG emissions, and cause the loss of more than 110,000 clean energy jobs.  With Trump and his FERC opposing California’s climate goals at every opportunity, the timing could not be worse to give the federal government more control over what type of energy we use and how much we pay for it.  Urge your legislators to OPPOSE AB 813.

Economic Impacts:

Job Losses

A study by the California ISO on the impact of regional expansion on California solar construction jobs found that retaining the existing renewable portfolio standard (RPS) preference would yield 110,000 additional construction jobs in California.  Regional expansion would eliminate the existing RPS preference for generation directly connected or delivering energy to a California Balancing Authority, and those 110,000 jobs would be lost. 

Higher Bills

Revised cost allocation rules under a regional grid could force California customers to pay a significant portion, in the billions, for new transmission investments by Warren Buffet’s PacifiCorp and other big corporations.  Their rate of return this investment or other transmission investments (paid by customers) would be higher than the rate of return TURN has won here in CA.

California customers can ill afford to bear the full costs of the existing grid plus a significant share (80% or more) of new investments outside the state. And the Legislature would have given away its authority to stop the scheme.  OPPOSE AB 813 NOW!

Handing the Grid To Trump:

Elimination of State Review

AB 813 would eliminate state CPUC and legislative review of rate hikes, which previously stopped a California ISO proposal for customers to pay millions for unnecessary gas plants.  Oppose AB 813.

In 2011, the California ISO argued for 4,600 MW of new gas-fired plants.  The CPUC declined to require customers to fund this additional procurement by the utilities. The CPUC made the right call, since the new gas capacity has proved unnecessary.

An expanded, regional ISO would need no approval from the California Legislature or any state agency to move forward with expensive, controversial proposals. Decisions would subject to approval by an independent Board of Governors (not tied to California) and FERC Commissioners who are likely to have little sympathy for our state’s progressive climate goals.

Ceding Authority to FERC

Efforts by the Trump Administration to subsidize coal-fired generation through wholesale markets will have an increased impact on California under a regional grid.   Trump has said preservation of existing coal-fired plants and opposition to GHG regulation are top priorities.  The new Trump majority at FERC has already demonstrated hostility to California’s climate policies, devaluing renewable resources and refusing to consider GHG impacts in the approval of new gas pipelines.

Environmental Consequences:

Deteriorated Renewable Resources

Regional expansion would irrevocably alter the state’s landmark Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program and could result in less new renewable energy development, greater reliance on out-of-state resources that never deliver and fewer environmental and public health benefits for California.

Increased GHG Emissions

The move to regional markets could result in an increase in the utilization of dirty, coal-fired generation andhigher overall GHG emissions than would have occurred absent regional expansion.