In a settlement with SMW client the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), a state licensing board rescinded regulations that would have prohibited solar contractors from installing solar panels paired with batteries for energy storage. The regulations would have been devastating to California’s solar contractors and their workers, as well as to consumers who […]
Housing affordability – whether buying or renting – remains a critical challenge for California cities and their residents. An April 2022 report from UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation found that a record number of Californians are housing cost burdened. State housing cost burdens have surged over the last two decades, with home […]
In late 2021, the California Energy Commission approved updates to California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Energy Code), which regulate energy and water efficiency for newly constructed buildings. The Commission also approved energy-related updates to the California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen), which both mandates and encourages sustainable construction practices. Both sets of updated standards […]
Energy storage has a unique and pivotal role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy because it can help the electric grid accommodate more renewable energy. However, a number of barriers currently impede the process of connecting energy storage systems to the energy distribution grid. A new suite of actionable recommendations for regulators […]
Building Decarbonization Update: Local Governments in California Consider Strategies to Reduce Natural Gas Use in Existing Buildings
Following up on the October 2019 and February 2020 editions of In the Public Interest, this article provides an update regarding strategies proposed by several cities and counties to encourage or require existing buildings to go all-electric.
Utilities provide integration capacity maps that can help customers and developers optimize the placement of distributed energy resources like solar generation and electric vehicle chargers. The California Public Utilities Commission recently decided to require improvements to the maps, which will unlock new uses that can aid public agencies’ decarbonization efforts.
In order to serve urban customers with solar energy generated in the Southwest desert, DCR Transmission LLC proposed building a 125-mile transmission line across parts of Arizona and California. The Firm assisted the Colorado River Indian Tribes in participating before state and federal agencies in multi-year approval proceedings. Ultimately, the Tribes secured a revised route […]
In 2019 the Firm advises a number of local jurisdictions and NGOs, including the Building Decarbonization Coalition, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Redwood Energy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Peninsula Clean Energy, the City of Cupertino, and the City of San Luis Obispo, on the authority of local jurisdictions to phase out natural gas in buildings. […]
The firm represents the Environmental Defense Fund in proceedings before the California Public Utilities Commission, successfully advocating EDF’s position that utilities be required to implement best available technology and practices to reduce methane emissions from the natural gas distribution systems. In 2019 the Commission adopts a decision reducing utilities’ rate recovery for these emissions.
In 2019 the firm drafts, and advises the City of Cupertino in adopting, one of the first all-electric reach codes, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of new construction that might otherwise be served by natural gas.