Senate Committee OKs First Step Toward Reliable Regional Energy Grid

A California Chamber of Commerce-supported bill that will promote energy efficiency and grid reliability won approval from a Senate policy committee this week.

AB 813 (Holden; D-Pasadena) passed the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on June 19.

The bill increases efficiency and reliability of the energy grid by allowing for the sale of excess energy and options for meeting peak energy usage.

The CalChamber supports AB 813 as an integral step toward regionalization of the energy grids of California and the Westerrn states, led by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO).

An integrated energy grid is consistent with California’s energy policy and will encourage less expensive, cleaner and more reliable transmission of electricity.

California is a leader in addressing climate change, and should continue to be a leader in regionalizing the energy grid. In its letter supporting SB 813, the CalChamber noted that achieving the state’s aggressive and ambitious 2030 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels will be difficult and the state should do everything it can to ensure there is a marketplace for energy from renewable sources while minimizing costs to businesses and residents.

Creating a regional grid will allow California businesses to sell excess renewable energy into a larger market, ensuring continued growth.

In addition, AB 813 will allow California to prepare for the steep drop in energy production that occurs after sunset, when solar panels stop producing. An integrated energy grid will allow California to reliably and efficiently ensure that it can meet peak energy demands.

AB 813 is the first of several steps to create a fully integrated Western energy grid. The bill provides the pathway for the CAISO to create a governance structure for energy producers.

The CalChamber believes that an independent energy grid is a crucial step toward efficiently and effectively complying with the state’s 2030 goal by ensuring a reliable energy grid, all while keeping costs low for California businesses and residents.

Key Vote

AB 813 passed Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications, 6-1:

Ayes: Bradford (D-Gardena), Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys), Hill (D-San Mateo), Skinner (D-Berkeley), Stern (D-Canoga Park), Wiener (D-San Francisco).

No: Vidak (R-Hanford).

No votes recorded: Cannella (R-Ceres), Hueso (D-San Diego), McGuire (D-Healdsburg), Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga).

AB 813 will be considered next by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Staff Contact: Leah Silverthorn

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Leah B. Silverthorn served as a CalChamber policy advocate from May 2018 to February 2022. She specialized in climate change, air quality, energy, environmental justice, marijuana/cannabis, and transportation and infrastructure issues. She brought to the CalChamber more than a decade of legal experience in environmental, energy, and land use matters. Immediately before coming to CalChamber, she was the principal owner of Silverthorn Legal, based in Seattle, Washington. She focused on environmental litigation, contaminated property redevelopment, and environmental cost recovery and defense. She is an honors graduate of Indiana University-Bloomington, with a B.S. in public affairs and environmental management. She earned her J.D., with honors, at the Indiana University McKinney School of Law, where she was articles editor for the Indiana International and Comparative Law Review and a member of the Moot Court Board.