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: August 8, 2018 in Sacramento, CA
Our annual Sacramento event, "Pathway to 2050," 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.
Join us for our next event taking place on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 at the Sacramento Convention Center. We will also host a Members-only Lobby Day and Capitol Reception on August 7, 2018 at the State Capitol.
Last 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?
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 AEE's California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Working Group. In conjunction with our bi-weekly CPUC Working Group Calls, AEE’s PowerSuite, and in particular DocketDash, helps our members follow key proceedings and collaborate on actions in individual dockets.
Round-up of 2017-2018 Session
The 2017 legislative session wrapped up mid-September. AEE kept busy on a number of priority bills, including two co-sponsored bills, AB 1184 (Ting) and AB 1573 (Bloom). Read our insights on this session's success stories, efforts that fell short, and bills we will continue to work in 2018 in our blog post and round-up below.
AB 134 (Budget): Allocates $900M in cap and trade funds to various one-time appropriations for GHG-reducing programs, including advanced transportation and workforce development. This bill was signed into law by Governor Brown. Support
AB 398 (E. Garcia): Provides industry with much-needed regulatory and market certainty by extending cap and trade program to 2030. Makes adjustments to the current program, including a workforce development requirement and establishing new parameters for offsets. This bill was signed into law by the Governor. Support
Read blog post: "The Road to Victory for Cap and Trade in California" >>
AB 617 (C. Garcia): Establishes new air quality monitoring protocols and requirements to benefit local communities. This bill is a companion measure to AB 398 (E. Garcia) as part of the legislative cap and trade package. This bill was signed into law by the Governor. Support
View AEE Support Letter for AB 398 and AB 617 >
AB 1184 (Ting): Accelerates the purchase of electric vehicles in California by creating a consistent, statewide rebate program for consumers. AB 1184 became a two-year bill, and will be taken back up in 2018. Support - AEE Sponsored
Read blog post: "Proposed California Electric Vehicle Initiative Would Drive EV Sales with $3 Billion in Incentives" >>
AB 1573 (Bloom): Expands opportunity for commercial and industrial users to access renewable energy by removing restrictions on the current Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program. AB 1184 became a two-year bill, and will be taken back up in 2018. Support - AEE Sponsored
View AEE Support Letter >
AB 271 (Caballero): Hinders California's PACE market by removing PACE from the secured tax roll and impairing the program's finance mechanism. The bill did not move forward this year. Oppose
View AEE Oppose Letter >
AB 546 (Chiu): Promotes increased deployment of advanced energy storage by streamlining regional and local permitting guidelines. This bill was signed into law by the Governor. Support
View AEE Request for Signature Letter >
AB 739 (Chau): Drives progress towards California's ZEV goals by requiring ZEVs to comprise 15% of the state’s new heavy-duty fleet purchases, beginning in 2025. This requirement would increase to 30% of new purchases for 2030 and beyond. This bill was signed into law by the Governor. Support
View AEE Request for Signature Letter >
AB 1284 (Dababneh): Strengthens the PACE program by increasing consumer protection measures and establishing the California Department of Business Oversight as the regulatory body overseeing PACE providers. Also subjects PACE program administrators to important licensing requirements under the “California Financing Law”. This bill passed out of the Legislature and was signed into law. Support
View AEE Request for Signature Letter >
SB 100 (de Leon): Accelerates the growth of advanced energy resources by requiring the state's electricity providers to achieve a 100% clean and zero carbon goal by 2045. This bill became a two-year bill, and will be taken back up in 2018. Support
View AEE Support Letter >
SB 110 (de León): Extends critical funding for advanced energy projects and energy efficiency retrofits in schools. Shifts unused grant monies into a loan program. This bill passed out of the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor. Support
SB 242 (Skinner): Strengthens PACE financing programs by standardizing best practice guidelines for third-party administrators. This bill was signed into law by the Governor. Support
View AEE Request for Signature Letter >
SB 700 (Wiener): Boosts energy storage deployment by creating a statewide rebate program. This bill became a two-year bill, and will be taken back up in 2018. Support
On June 28, 2017, AEE submitted comments on the CPUC IRP Staff Proposal. AEE also submitted Reply Comments in follow up on July 12, 2017.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Water-Energy Nexus: Defining Challenges and Opportunities in California
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 tackle operative challenges in order to achieve the state’s overarching climate, energy, and water conservation goals.
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.
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.