Senate Approves Sen. Dodd’s Community Energy Resilience Bill
SACRAMENTO – The Senate has overwhelmingly approved legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help California reduce its reliance on carbon-emitting generators during disaster-driven power outages by assisting the planning of micro-grids, with a priority on low-income communities.
“Power outages in recent years have cost California billions, and the emissions from backup generators pose a huge threat to our environment,” Sen. Dodd said. “My legislation will prioritize development of alternate power sources so everyone can keep their lights on -- regardless of their income level or economic status.”
Senate Bill 99, the Community Energy Resilience Act, calls for the creation of a technical assistance and grant program administered by the California Energy Commission to help local governments develop clean energy resilience plans, leveraging the substantial related investments that have already been made by the CEC.
SB 99 enables local governments to collaborate with utilities in planning community-scale energy infrastructure such as solar panels and battery storage so that communities -- not distant big utilities -- are deciding what facilities remain energized during a crisis. Plans are a prerequisite for attracting private and public investments in community energy resilience projects -- particularly important as federal lawmakers contemplate a new trillion-dollar infrastructure package.
The bill was approved late Monday by the full Senate and moves next to the Assembly. It comes as the state heads into another fire season, which is likely to mean more power shutoffs.
Sen. Dodd’s proposal is backed by a coalition of environmental, community and industry advocates led by The Climate Center. Other partners include the California State Association of Counties, the Microgrid Resources Coalition and the California Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments.
“As the warming climate increases the number of grid outages, whether due to wildfires or heat extremes, it is critical that California’s communities have the tools they need to maintain reliable electricity,” said Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center, the bill’s sponsor. “SB 99 supports communities in creating energy resilience plans that will safeguard their populations while generating clean electricity. With its strong focus on vulnerable communities, SB 99 charts a course toward a cleaner, more equitable, and more resilient energy future in California.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.