Low Carbon, Low Cost Peak Bill Passes State Senate

May 30, 2017

Today, Senate Bill 338, authored by State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) passed the California Senate.

With renewable sources generating a larger and larger percent of the state’s electricity, California’s energy system is the cleanest in the nation. SB 338 is aimed at ensuring that the state’s peak energy needs are met at low cost and low carbon by requiring the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) to meet peak energy through energy efficiency, demand management, energy storage and more without the need to build excess transmission or generation or increase reliance on fossil fuels.

“As the nation’s clean energy leader, California can demonstrate that clean energy deployment does not have to be expensive,” said Senator Nancy Skinner. “Meeting peak energy needs with efficiency, demand reduction and storage helps avoid costly new transmission and excess generation.”

California’s energy system is the cleanest in the nation. However, California still uses fossil fuel – mostly natural gas – to provide energy when electricity demand spikes or when renewable sources are generating intermittently. This means energy providers often have to double build. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that such double-building means that by 2020, California will be producing 21% more energy than needed.  The cost of this excess generation and any related transmission is then passed on to the ratepayer.

SB 338 directs the PUC and CEC to incorporate into their existing planning processes the development of policies to meet the State’s peak electricity needs through strategies and technologies such as demand response, demand management, energy storage, and energy efficiency reducing the need to build additional excess generation or transmission, and saving money for ratepayers.

Senate Bill 338 now moves to the Assembly for consideration.  

Senator Nancy Skinner (@NancySkinnerCA) represents the 9th Senate District which includes the cities of Oakland, Richmond, Berkeley, Albany, Alameda, San Leandro, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Emeryville, Hercules, Kensington, Pinole, Piedmont, San Pablo, and Rodeo. She serves as Chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Senate Budget Subcommittee No. 5 on Corrections, Public Safety and the Judiciary.