Legislative Update June 2017

The deadline for bill to pass out of their house of origin occurred on June 1, 2017.  The following is a short list of important bills that met this deadline as well as two pieces of legislation that may move forward under legislative parliamentary rules. Continue reading

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Third Appellate District Upholds CARB’s Cap-and-Trade Auction Authority under AB 32

Today, the Third Appellate District affirmed the Sacramento Superior Court judgment from 2013 that dismissed two consolidated lawsuits filed by the California Chamber of Commerce and Morning Star Packing Co against the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  These cases attacked the sales of allowances under CARB’s Cap-and-Trade program. The California Chamber of Commerce suit alleged that the AB 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006) did not authorize CARB to impose fees in the form of a cap-and-trade auction beyond those required to recover the costs of administering such a program.  The Morning Star Packing suit alleged that even if CARB’s cap-and-trade auction was authorized, the sale of allowances constitute an illegal tax adopted in violation of Proposition 13’s 2/3 approval requirement for taxes. The parties appealed the superior court judgment.

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2017 Legislative Session: Two Bills Seek to Amend the Solar Rights Act relating to HOAs

Two recently amended bills, AB 634 and SB 522, address issues faced by residential property owners who live in common interest developments that seek to install rooftop solar.  Both bills would amend the Solar Rights Act, but for different purposes.  I previously posted about the emerging issue between the Solar Rights Act and Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (DSA) that AB 634 proposes to address. Through a different approach, SB 522 would change the voting requirement for a HOA that mandates association-wide voting for architectural modifications, such as rooftop solar installation.  The difference between these bills is discussed below.

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AB 79: Quantifying Hourly GHG Emissions from Unspecified Electric Generation Sources

Accurately quantifying and allocating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the causal load is a fundamental practice in climate planning.  Emissions from unspecified sources remains a blind spot in accurately quantifying and accurately allocating GHG emissions in GHG emission calculations. We previously posted about causation as the basis for attributing GHG emissions from electricity, CAISO’s Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) GHG emission reporting, as well as AB 1110 and the issue of GHG Intensity Reporting.   This post will focus on proposed Assembly Bill 79, as amended on March 21, 2017, to review a proposed legislative solution to resolving the GHG accounting issue from unspecified sources of electricity.

AB 79, as amended on March 21, 2017, seeks to resolve the problem of accurately quantifying greenhouse gases from unspecified sources of electricity purchased by retail suppliers to serve California electric customers. Accurately quantifying GHGs from unspecified sources will better allow allocation of GHG emissions to the load that caused the emissions. Continue reading

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Preparing for A Generation of Electric Vehicles: Incentives and Infrastructure Development

Growing popularity of zero and near-zero emission vehicles among consumers and car manufacturers has not gone unnoticed by the legislature.  The 2017 legislative session revealed a push in favor of increasing the amount of such vehicles in the State through purchase incentive and tax deduction programs, as well as widespread installation of electric charging infrastructures.

The proposed legislation supports the existing emission reduction Air Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) and the million electric car Charge Ahead California Initiative (CACI), two measures that facilitate a future where most, if not all Californians, own and regularly use zero or near-zero emission vehicles. The Air Quality Improvement Program is a voluntary incentive program, created by AB 118 (2007) and administered by the State Air Resources Board, that works to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by funding clean vehicle, equipment projects, and research on alternative fuels and air quality.  The Charge Ahead California Initiative, created by AB 1275 (2014), sets goals of placing in service at least 1,000,000 zero-emission and near-zero-emission vehicles by January 1, 2023, and in doing so, increase access to such vehicles for disadvantaged, low-income, and moderate-income communities and consumers. This post will provide a brief analysis of the relevant provisions by category. Continue reading

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2017 Legislative Session Take-Away: Major Focus on Low-Income and Disadvantaged Communities

In the 2017 legislative session, there is a clear trend that shows the intent to focus and prioritize energy and climate policy for low-income and disadvantaged communities.  This post will provide a short analysis on the priorities broken down by specific area or category.

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Emerging Issues Between the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act and the Solar Rights Act

With the growing installation of solar photovoltaic systems in California, more homeowner’s associations (HOAs) are using a specific provision of the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (DSA) (Civil Code Section 4000 et seq.) to regulate the installation of rooftop solar on common area roofs of multi-family common interest developments (apartment, condo complexes, etc.).  The DSA defines the form of organization and ownership interest in community apartment projects, condominium projects, planned developments, and stock cooperatives. A specific provision of the DSA governs the restrictions on ownership and transfers of exclusive use of any portion of a common area to a member for the installation of a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal system.

This post will explain the relevant provisions of the DSA and Solar Rights Act (SRA) to frame this residential real estate issue. It will focus on use of statutory ownership rights and transfer of interest between the board of the association that oversees uses in common areas and an individual separate property owner that seeks to install a rooftop solar PV or solar thermal energy system on a common area rooftop. The discussion is limited to built or future residential common interest developments, as defined by Civil Code Section 4100, and excludes both the Subdivided Lands Act (Business and Professions Code Section 11000 et seq.) and Commercial and Industrial Common Interest Development Act (Civil Code Section 6500-6876). Continue reading

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