California’s clean energy future is bright for well-positioned contractors, but it’s not without some recent clouds.
- Berkeley gas ban: The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit announced in late 2023 that it won’t reconsider its decision to overturn the City of Berkeley’s ban on gas hookups in new construction. Barring US Supreme Court action that would enable Berkeley’s strategy, municipalities must pursue other options for pursuing electrification of new construction. and cities like San Jose have adopted electric-preferred reach codes.
- Southern California Edison (SCE) building electrification: On January 11, the CPUC rejected SCE’s proposed Building Electrification program. The decision reflected concerns over ratepayer cost increases from the program. SCE’s application would have established the nation’s most extensive utility building electrification program. The CPUC is expected to release guidance for future applications for similar programs.
- Governor’s budget: due to a projected $37.9B to $68B deficit, Governor Newsom’s office proposed a reduction of $283M General Fund and a shift of $87 million for the California Energy Commission’s direct-install Equitable Building Decarbonization Program (EBD). His office also proposed a reduction of $6.4M General Fund for the CEC’s California Electric Homes program.
Despite these hurdles, California’s future is clean energy, and progress continues on multiple fronts.
- Federal funding: California is one of the first four states to submit funding applications for the Department of Energy’s (DOE) $8.8B Home Energy Rebates program. The CEC has been signaling its intent to leverage the HOMES program to expand funding for the EBD program. CEC recently sought input on 1) the proposal to leverage the EBD program and 2) additional program design considerations if leveraging EBD is infeasible.
- Zero-emission appliance standards: CARB continues to develop zero-emission GHG standards for new space and water heaters sold in the state starting in 2030. Most recently, CARB solicited applications for the engagement of public experts to advise CARB on their appliance standards rulemaking.
- State legislation: Now headed to the Senate floor, SB 382 (Becker) would require sellers of single-family homes to include a specified disclosure statement to the prospective buyer regarding the home’s electrical systems. As currently drafted, the statement advises buyers that they may want to obtain an inspection of the home’s electrical systems to consider safety concerns, property insurance coverage and future home electrification.