The Middle for Organic Variety, Defend Our Communities Basis and the Environmental Working Group on January 18 appealed the California Public Utilities Fee’s determination to considerably slash compensation to the state’s rooftop photo voltaic clients. The fee’s determination will hurt the flexibility of environmental justice communities to go inexperienced.
“California is drowning in climate-driven deluges, and now we have to make it simpler for communities to embrace rooftop photo voltaic to outlive the local weather emergency,” mentioned Roger Lin, an lawyer on the Middle for Organic Variety. “By slashing the online metering program, state regulators made it even tougher for environmental justice communities to get photo voltaic. We’re interesting as a result of this flies within the face of the fee’s mandate to make sure that rooftop photo voltaic is accessible to low-income Californians.”
In December 2022 the fee revised the state’s net-metering plan. The brand new plan deserted a hefty photo voltaic tax however decreased the compensation rooftop photo voltaic clients earn from sending electrical energy they don’t use again to the grid. This threatens the rising rooftop photo voltaic market and places reasonably priced and resilient renewable vitality out of attain for many communities.
“California’s personal utilities have been relentless opponents of rooftop photo voltaic for a few years, as a result of it undercuts the golden goose — new high-profit transmission line building. They’ve satisfied regulators of the alchemy that they’re defending the pursuits of lower-income clients — and never shareholder pursuits — by devaluing rooftop photo voltaic,” mentioned Invoice Powers, an knowledgeable witness within the continuing and a board member of the Defend Our Communities Basis.
The attraction says the fee ought to redo its evaluation. The teams say regulators devalued rooftop photo voltaic primarily based on flawed modeling that ignored web metering’s advantages to environmental justice communities, akin to reducing the state’s dependence on fossil fuels and offering native financial advantages, together with new jobs. The fee additionally failed to investigate non-solar buyer payments and ignored or underestimated harms from fossil gasoline vitality, notably to low-income communities and communities of shade.
“By making residential photo voltaic economically untenable for tens of millions of working households, the CPUC has sidelined the one competitors the large utilities face. It would enable PG&E and the opposite energy corporations to maintain losing ratepayer cash on misguided, high-cost infrastructure investments,” mentioned Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook dinner, a Bay Space resident. “The CPUC wants a reset to suit an rising new world of electrical energy. We now have sturdy competitors for utilities from distributed photo voltaic, battery storage and microgrids, a technological and financial transformation the likes of which we haven’t seen in additional than 100 years.”
The fee additionally deserted a $600 million fairness fund geared toward getting extra clear renewables to low-income communities. Regulators claimed the state’s battery storage fund would obtain the identical consequence, however Gov. Gavin Newsom lately minimize that fund by 30%.
Public opposition to the fee’s determination is widespread. Greater than 125 California and nationwide local weather and fairness teams representing tens of millions of individuals beforehand called on the governor’s office to reject the fee’s flawed evaluation and preserve the state’s photo voltaic credit score to develop rooftop photo voltaic in environmental justice communities.
Information merchandise from the Middle for Organic Variety