California Engagement

California is poised to be the seventh largest economy in the world, and it has a corresponding large market for energy services. California is also second only to the federal government in the magnitude of public resources it invests annually in energy. The state has a long history of using public policy to transform markets in pursuit of broader goals, from the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), to the California Solar Initiative, to a mandate to promote energy storage on both the utility and customer sides of the meter, to aggressive energy efficiency programs, to the Governor’s goal to have 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 – the list goes on and on. None of these have come about easily, however, and a unified, credible industry voice is needed to help the state gain all the economic benefits of advanced energy growth. Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is that voice.

The California Engagement Program provides policymakers and the public with well-informed industry perspective on how to achieve California's energy goals on a cost-effective basis. AEE’s California Working Group is composed of representatives from AEE members who have a strong interest in the California market. Our members determine our areas of focus as well as the specific positions we take as we work with the Governor’s office, Legislature, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Energy Commission (CEC), Air Resources Board (CARB) and other agencies to enact policies that expand the market for advanced energy in California.

Click the links on the left to see reports and other products related to this initiative.

Annual Sacramento Event - Pathway to 2050

WHEN: June 21, 2017 in Sacramento, CA

Our annual Sacramento event brings together an influential group of advanced energy business leaders and state policy-makers to discuss opportunities to accelerate California's economy through the growth of advanced energy.

Our most recent event took place from 8:30am-4:45pm on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at the Sacramento Convention Center. We also hosted a Members-only Lobby Day and Reception on June 20, 2017 at the Capitol.


This year's program covered a number of timely and critical topics, including:

  • How will the new landscape in Washington impact California's advanced energy policies?
  • What stands in the way of meeting the state's ambitious vehicle electrification goals?
  • Meeting the workforce needs of the advanced energy economy: Are we prepared to make the transition?
  • The Utility of the future: What does it mean for customers?

Stay tuned for event media in the coming weeks!

Please watch the following short video to learn more about Pathway to 2050:

Legislative and Regulatory Advocacy

AEE staff and members are actively involved in a range of legislative advocacy efforts. As the details of state spending from the general fund, Prop 39 revenues, and cap-and-trade (AB 32) auction proceeds are set each year, AEE works with the Governor’s office and Legislative staff and leadership to ensure that programs that accelerate the deployment of advanced energy technologies are prioritized. Representing businesses from a wide range of sectors of the energy economy and backed by rigorous analysis and supporting data demonstrating the economic benefits of advanced energy, AEE’s unique voice helps to offset the doom-and-gloom messages from incumbent industries.

On the regulatory front, AEE staff work closely with staff at the CPUC and CEC as well as CARB to identify areas where we can provide perspective and analysis outside of formal proceedings. This effort complements specific interventions that many of our member companies take independently or as part of a single-industry trade association. AEE’s PowerSuite, and in particular DocketDash, helps our members follow key proceedings and collaborate on actions in individual dockets.

The following outlines our Legislative Advocacy and Regulatory Advocacy work to date.

Legislative Advocacy

Position Letters:

SB 32 (Pavley): California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006- Support
Requires the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to establish a statewide GHG emissions limit of 40% below 1990 emissions levels, to be achieved by 2030.
View AEE Position Letter (Asm. Natural Resources Committee) >
View AEE Position Letter (Author) >

AB 1330 (Bloom): Energy Efficiency Funding- Support Gives the California Public Utilities Commission the ability to increase funding for energy efficiency programs and activities if deemed necessary to achieve the state’s 2030 climate and energy objectives.
View AEE Position Letter (Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee) >
View AEE Position Letter (Author) >

AB 2630 (Salas): San Joaquin Valley Clean Energy and Jobs Act - Oppose Requires the California Public Utilities Commission and the State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (Energy Commission) to evaluate, while taking into consideration ratepayer costs and benefits, potential eligible renewable energy resource projects in the San Joaquin Valley that provide specified benefits or attributes.
View AEE Position Letter (Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee) >
View AEE Position Letter (Author) >

AB 2339 (Irwin): Net Energy Metering Cap Calculation- Support Defines the "aggregate customer peak demand" for the purposes of calculating the net energy metering program limit for electric utilities that have more than 25,000 service connections, but are not large electrical corporations. Would dictate the manner of calculating aggregate customer peak demand if certain information is unavailable, as specified.
View AEE Position Letter >

AB 645 (Williams): Renewable Portfolio Standard - Support Extends the existing RPS (33% by 2020) to 50% by December 31, 2030 for both investor-owned and publicly owned utilities.
View AEE Position Letter >

AB 674 (Mullen): Distributed Energy Resources - Support Limits the CPUC from imposing fixed, non-bypassable charges for customers installing distributed energy resources that exceed those same charges on non-DER customers.
View AEE Position Letter >

AB 1005 (Gordon): Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure - Support Defines the role of utilities in the build-out of the EV charging infrastructure, promotes competition and customer choice among infrastructure companies.
View AEE Position Letter >

AB 1330 (Bloom): Energy Efficiency Resource Standard - Support Codifies the requirement that public and investor-owned utilities, electricity providers and community choice aggregators meet electrical needs first through energy efficiency and demand response mechanisms that are “cost-effective, reliable and feasible.”
View AEE Position Letter >

SB 32 (Pavley): Global Warming Solutions Act - Support Extends the landmark 2006 law with goals of reducing GHG emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050.
View AEE Position Letter >

SB 286 (Hertzberg): Direct Access to Renewable Electricity - Support As amended, would open the currently limited market for direct access to independent power producers by commercial customers so long as the supplied electricity was 100% renewable.
View AEE Position Letter >

SB 350 (de León): Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction - Support Establishes a 50% renewable portfolio standard, 50% improvement in energy efficiency of buildings and a 50% decrease in petroleum use in the transportation sector, all by 2030.
View AEE Position Letter >
View AEE Coalition Floor Alert >

SB 502 (Leno): Purchase of Renewable Energy by Bay Area Rapid Transit District - Support Requires electricity suppliers to BART to supply RPS-compliant renewable energy if requested.
View AEE Position Letter >

SB 550 (Hertzberg): Net Energy Metering - Support Establishes a statewide standard for calculating the net metering cap for local, publicly owned utilities.
View AEE Position Letter >

Regulatory Advocacy

On May 23, 2016, AEE submitted reply comments to the CPUC on Commissioner Florio's draft incentives proposal (also known as R.14-10-003).

Download Reply Comments on Draft Incentives Proposal for DER

On May 9, 2016, AEE submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Commissioner Florio's draft incentives proposal for distributed energy resources (DER).

Download Comments on Draft Incentives Proposal for DER

On March 30, 2016, AEE submitted a response to the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD)'s Request for Information: Low Income Weatherization Program (2016-RFI-45). AEE provided guidance on how existing funding streams can be better leveraged to maximize impact in disadvantaged communities in line with SB 535 (de León) and the state's ambitious environmental and energy goals under AB 32 (Pavley). Specifically, AEE urged CSD to: (1) expand program reach, (2) focus dollars on innovative pilot projects in disadvantaged communities, (3) leverage CLEEN Center Efforts and expand financing opportunities, and (4) track performance and results.

Read Response Letter to CSD's RFI-45:  Low Income Weatherization Program 

In December 2015, AEE submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) on the Draft Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds Second Investment Plan (Fiscal Years 2016-2017 through 2018-2019)(Draft Plan). AEE provided supportive finance-related comments on Section VI.A.2. AEE also offered three recommendations to scale the impact of available Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) monies, calling specific attention to: 1) the transportation sector; 2) the water-energy-greenhouse gas nexus; 3) residential energy efficiency retrofits for disadvantaged communities.

Read the Draft Cap and Trade  Second Investment Plan Comment Letter

In July, 2015, AEE submitted comments to the Legislature and Governor's office on proposed changes to the use of Cap & Trade auction revenues that would leverage private sector funds to further expand investments in GHG-reducing technologies and programs.

Read the Cap & Trade Comment Letter

In March 2015, AEE sent a letter to the CPUC regarding pending decisions applications from the IOUs to own and operate various parts of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in which we encouraged the Commissioners and ALJs to consider the potential precedent they might set for future applications by utilities to own or operate other distributed energy resources.

Read the CPUC EV Infrastructure Letter

In October 2014, AEE sent further comments to the California Energy Commission on proposed implementation guideline revisions.

In December 2013, AEE sent additional comments to the California Energy Commission on the revised Prop 39 guidelines. These comments are an extension to the letter sent in October of 2013.

Read the Prop 39 Revised Guidelines Comment Letter

In November, AEE submitted comments to the California Air Resources Board on the proposed update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan. The scoping plan update is scheduled to be finalized in spring of 2014.

In October, AEE wrote to the California Energy Commission with comments on the Proposition 39 Program Implementation Draft Guidelines. Both the private and public sector are prepared to work with schools to ensure they are achieving maximum energy savings and deploying the best solutions on-site. AEE lays out some clear guidelines and requirements will help shape a strong program that achieves the goals envisioned by the initiative.

AEE released a follow-up comment letter to the California Air Resources Board on April 24, 2013 on the Draft Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds Investment Plan. The draft identified multiple areas of investment; AEE offered comments to support the categories that are especially important to California's advanced energy industry.

Comments on the Cap and Trade Investment Plan- Draft Concept Paper On March 8, 2013 AEE released a comment letter to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regarding the draft concept paper on CARB's cap and trade investment plan. California has a tremendous opportunity to lead the nation by developing an investment plan that achieves greenhouse gas emission reductions, boosts the use and development of advanced energy technologies in the state and stimulates economic growth in local communities.

Water-Energy Nexus

Water-Energy Nexus: Defining Challenges and Opportunities in California

California’s water infrastructure represents one of the state’s largest energy users, consuming 19% of the state’s electricity for treating, pumping and conveyance. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with California’s water use are equal to the emissions from more than 7 million cars. In order to achieve California’s climate goals beyond 2020, meet the water supply needs of the 21st Century, and reduce energy consumption, the state must address the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with our water system. Doing so will also benefit the state during severe drought years and allow for better utilization and management of the state’s electricity grid.

In early June 2016, AEE released the white paper "Bringing California’s Water-Energy System into the 21st Century: Addressing Greenhouse Gas Emissions through Technology." The white paper provides a private sector perspective on the Water-Energy and Greenhouse Gas nexus and offers strategies to address it in order to achieve the state’s overarching climate, energy, and water conservation goals.

Download the Water Energy Nexus White Paper

On Tuesday, November 3, Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) hosted a Water-Energy Roundtable at the Verizon Innovation Center (West) in San Francisco, California. The event convened a total of 32 participants from both the private and public sector, representing leading advanced energy firms, government agencies, academic institutions, water utilities, legal entities, and innovative non-profit organizations.Felicia Marcus, acting chair of the California Water Resources Control Board, participated in the Water-Energy Roundtable as AEE’s guest of honor. The roundtable provided a unique opportunity for a diverse group of expert stakeholders to come together to discuss critical water-energy issues and priorities. Graham Richard, CEO, AEE moderated a productive discussion geared towards identifying policy possibilities that AEE’s California Engagement team can integrate into its ongoing legislative advocacy work in Sacramento.

21st Century Electricity System

In conjunction with our national 21st Century Electricity System initiative, AEE has convened a group of our members to work with utilities and other stakeholders to help define a path forward for the electricity system in California that can enable advanced energy to flourish. Participants are working to identify the technologies that are driving change, ways in which utility business models can evolve to embrace these technologies, and improvements to the regulatory framework that can facilitate this transition.

The working group produced four issue briefs covering key regulatory challenges and opportunities in California,such as: Access to Customer Energy Data, Demonstration and Deployment Projects, the CPUC Regulatory Process, and Workforce Evolution.

Download CA 21CES Issue Briefs

The working group created the following position paper that presents a broad vision of how stakeholders in California can work together in a more integrated fashion to achieve the state’s ambitious and important energy and environmental policy objectives.

Download the Position Paper

On August 13, a group of those involved in the writing of this paper presented the findings at a Thought Leaders forum at the California Public Utilities Commission.

Download the presentation >

Advanced Energy Jobs in California

AEE has taken the lead in demonstrating the economic impact that advanced energy is already having on employment and growth in California, as well as the industry’s potential to help the state achieve economic prosperity based on secure, clean, affordable energy.

In April 2016, the AEE Institute released its second California advanced energy employment report, "Advanced Energy Jobs in California," prepared by BW Research Partnership. This report showed that, at just over 500,000 workers, advanced energy employs three times as many Californians as the motion picture, TV, and radio industry; more than agriculture, forestry, and fishing; and approaching construction. With one in every five advanced energy workers nationwide, California has the largest advanced energy industry by employment of any state in the country.

Download Advanced Energy Jobs in California 2016 

In March 2015, the AEE Institute released the first-ever California Advanced Energy Employment Survey, which found there were over 430,000 advanced energy jobs in California in 2014, with employers expecting the total to grow 17% in 2015 to over half a million jobs. The survey, conducted by BW Research Partnership, found that every area of the state has significant employment related to advanced energy.

Download the 2015 California Employment Survey


California Energy Finance

California offers a broad range of finance programs specifically targeted at promoting innovation and deployment of advanced energy technologies – more than any other state. In this background paper, AEE examines the current energy finance programs in California, the agencies charged with administering these programs, and how California's various existing advanced energy finance programs map against opportunities for involving private sector capital.

Prop 39 - Expanding Energy Through Leverage

How California can multiply the value of Prop 39 for energy savings in public buildings by leveraging private sector capital?

Proposition 39 of 2012 provides funding for energy improvements in schools and colleges and universities.

For the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, Governor Brown proposed $365.4 million for energy efficiency projects in schools districts and charter schools, and $84 million for community colleges. AEE released a one-pager in May 2016, issuing key recommendations for how to make the best use of the funding available under Prop 39, now in its fourth year.

Download the 2016-2017 Prop 39 Recommendations

In November of 2012, voters passed Proposition 39, which will raise approximately $500 million annually for the five years to be used for energy efficiency and clean energy projects in schools and other public buildings. Advanced Energy Economy published a white paper demonstrating several ways the state can leverage funds from private capital sources and transform a one-time opportunity into an ongoing funding source for advanced energy projects. Read the press release and the blog post.

CEO Perspectives on California's Energy Policies

Recommendations from Business Leaders on how to Grow California's Advanced Energy Economy

Based on a series of interviews with 30 CEOs and other senior executives of advanced energy companies located in California or doing significant business in the state, the study presents corporate leaders’ perceptions of the state’s energy policies and recommendations for actions to accelerate the growth of an advanced energy economy in California. Overall, advanced energy CEOs believe that California’s energy policies have put the state on the cutting edge of advanced energy development and innovation, but a variety of obstacles are preventing California from fully reaping the economic and environmental benefits of advanced energy. Read the press release and a summary of the report.