California Governor Signs Ten Energy Bills

In the first half of October 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed 10 bills promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy. The Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007 (AB 1470) requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to create financial incentives for solar hot water systems that will replace the use of natural gas water heaters. Similar incentives already exist for replacing electric hot water heaters under the California Solar Initiative. The incentives will be funded by a surcharge on the bills of most natural gas customers. A second bill, AB 1109, requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to adopt energy efficiency standards for general purpose lights, and is expected to phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs in the state. Under AB 662 and AB 1560, the CEC is allowed to set water standards for appliances and required to incorporate water standards into the state’s existing building standards. For utilities, AB 1103 requires record keeping of energy use for nonresidential buildings, and AB 1613 authorizes the CPUC to require that utilities buy excess power from combined heat and power systems. AB 118 establishes a $2 raise in vehicle registration fees to fund the new Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, which will provide financial assistance to develop and deploy low carbon fuels and vehicles. AB 809 limits the use of state funds for hydrogen vehicles and expands the state’s definition of hydropower eligible for renewable energy requirements to include hydropower installed in water supply systems and incremental efficiency improvements at existing facilities. AB 532 extends the original deadline established in 2001 legislation (SBX2 82) for existing state buildings and parking facilities to install solar energy systems where feasible from January 1, 2007, to January 1, 2009. All new state buildings or parking facilities will also have to install solar energy systems where feasible if construction begins on or after January 1, 2008, extended in AB 532 from the original date of January 1, 2003. Finally, SB 1036 eliminates the Renewable Resource Trust Fund and refunds customers.

Governer's Press Release
Legislation: AB 1470, AB 1109, AB 662, AB 1103, AB 1560, AB 118,
AB 809, AB 532, AB 1613, SB 1036