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California Farm Bureau Federation Friday Review

July 18, 2008

In this issue:

AB 844 – metal theft
AB 1920 – wind/solar power compensation
SB 380 – extend feed-in energy tariffs
SB 1512 – private Ag energy production
SB 1714 – increase size of renewable energy systems eligible for feed-in tariffs
SB 974 – increase port fees on containerized cargo

We continued to make progress on metal theft this week.  AB 844 (Tom Berryhill, R-Modesto) was heard by the Senate Environmental Quality Committee this week.  It passed with all members in attendance voting for it.  Senator Simitian, Chair of the Committee, requested that Mr. Berryhill amend the bill to ensure that fingerprints provided by sellers are only provided to law enforcement during an active investigation, and only those fingerprints that are from individuals suspected of a crime.  Currently, some think that the bill would allow law enforcement to obtain all fingerprints from a recycler if they believe the recycler has stolen property.  Those amendments will be taken in the Senate Public Safety Committee, which is where the bill now goes.  The bill is expected to be heard in that committee on August 5th.  CFBF continues its support of AB 844.

AB 1920 (Huffman) requires IOUs and municipal utilities to compensate customers that use net metering in association with
 a system to generate wind or solar power and who generate excess energy over a 12-month cycle. 
The compensation value is to be determined by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 
The compensation would not necessarily be the same as the tariff rate, but would be based on criteria determined by the 
CPUC including the value of the electricity itself and the value of the renewable attributes of the electricity. The bill is set to 
be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on August 4. No position by CFBF has been determined as yet. 

SB 380 (Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego) simply seeks to extend the feed-in tariffs approved by the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year to San Diego Gas & Electric. The tariffs provide, in most cases, a better rate and opportunity for cost recovery of customer generation than net metering tariffs.  The bill is headed to the Assembly floor, and will be joined with SB 1714 if both bills are successful. CFBF currently has no position on this bill.

SB 1512 (Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa), regarding private energy production for agricultural customer solar or wind generators, was significantly altered when heard in the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee. The Senate committee approved version would have allowed only modest steps in providing opportunities for customers to consolidate the usage of multiple meters for a solar or wind installation by authorizing the property owner to install a system to offset the demand for the entire property while requiring the facilities to be physically connected.  The amended version authorizes agricultural customer generators of wind and solar to aggregate all time-of-use rate accounts under the same ownership located on property adjacent or contiguous to the generation facility (without physical connection) to be set off against the on-site generation.  This change will be met with great resistance from the Senate, where concurrence is required. AB 1512 did pass out of Assembly Appropriations this week. CFBF is in support of this bill.

SB 1714 (Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-Chino) seeks to increase the size of renewable systems eligible for feed-in tariffs from 1.5 MW to 4 MW. It codifies the renewable feed-in tariff approved by the California Public Utilities Commission earlier this year, but requires all private and public utilities in the state to adopt similar feed-in tariffs.  It also allows the price under the tariff to exceed the price paid under the current tariffs.  It is currently on the suspense file in Assembly Appropriations. There is no position determined by CFBF at this time.

SB 974 (Alan Lowenthal D-Long Beach) passed out of the Assembly and returns to the Senate for concurrence in amendments.  SB 974 would impose a $30 per twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) fee, or $60 for most containers used, on all containerized cargo moving in or out of the ports of Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Oakland. Farm Bureau and more than 400 businesses remain in opposition to the bill in spite of the recent amendments that allow the Port of Oakland to opt out of the $30 per TEU fee imposed by SB 974 as long as a fee amount is set by the port by the end of the year.  If a fee is not adopted by the port the SB 974 fee will be automatically implemented.  Watch for a Farm Team Alert next week asking for the Governor’s veto of SB 974.

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