Last week, Gov. Brown signed California’s state budget for 2014-15, which totals $156.3 billion, and the advanced energy industry fared well. Over the past several months, AEE participated in a series of hearings and meetings focused on the budget, as several appropriation issues directly impact our business members and the industry as a whole. The result was at least five key provisions we count as wins for the advanced energy industry in California.
Here are the details:
Prop 39 finance dollars for K-12. The Governor’s initial budget proposed distributing all Prop 39 dollars to schools through direct grants. The final budget approves $28 million of the Prop 39 revenues to be placed into ECAA, a revolving loan fund administered by the California Energy Commission (CEC). As a strong supporter of maximizing investment and getting the most out of public dollars, AEE supported the revolving loan fund approach and will work with CEC staff to explore further ways to finance Prop 39 projects at schools.
Advanced Energy upgrades at Public Buildings. The final budget includes an additional $20 million dollars for the ECAA program to assist with financing for efficiency and advanced energy upgrades for public buildings. The funds come from 2014-15 cap and trade revenues.
Extension of the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP). SGIP, a program administered by the California Public Utilities Commission to support existing and new distributed energy systems, was scheduled to sunset in 2016. But budget trailer bill SB 861, supported by AEE and a broad industry coalition, extends SGIP funding through 2019 and program operation through 2021.
Extension of the Solar Property Tax Exclusion. Budget Trailer bill SB 871 extended the existing property tax exclusion for solar systems to 2025. The exclusion was originally set to expire in 2017.
Investment of Cap and Trade dollars. The 2014-15 budget invests cap and trade revenues in categories such as sustainable communities and advanced transportation, energy efficiency, and natural resources and waste diversion. The budget also includes a formula to allocate ongoing funding beginning in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Of the ongoing funding, 40% will be allocated toward advanced transportation, natural resources programs, and advanced energy investments on an annual basis. The remaining 65% will go toward sustainable communities, local transit, and high-speed rail. Also advocated by AEE, the budget includes accountability and reporting measures to ensure that the investments reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet existing regulatory and statutory requirements.
See the table below, from the 2014-15 State Budget, for a complete breakdown of the cap and trade revenue investments. AEE will continue to work with the Administration and relevant agencies as specific allocations are made. For AEE, it’s all about delivering on the promise of California’s energy and climate commitments for advanced energy growth and development.
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