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 Business Council is composed of representatives from member companies at the Business Council and Leadership Council levels 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.

Regulatory and Legislative 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.

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 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 >

Annual Sacramento Event - Pathway to 2050

WHEN: August 20, 2015 in Sacramento, CA

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

This year's event topics will explore the following questions:

  • How do utility business models change as they absorb a rapid influx of advanced energy technologies?
  • What innovative finance mechanisms can be used to maximize the impact of cap and trade revenues?
  • How can California most cost-effectively achieve an RPS goal of 50%?
  • What can be done to significantly increase the energy efficiency of homes and businesses?

View agenda and speakers >

The 2015 Pathway to 2050 event site is now open for registration. AEE members and government officials enjoy complimentary registration.

Register to attend Pathway to 2050>

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

California Employment Survey

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 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 found that every area of the state has significant employment related to advanced energy.

Testimony and Comment Letters

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.

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.

Legislation - Bill Tracking

Position Letters:

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 >

California's Energy Finance Programs - Overview & Opportunities

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

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.