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california legislation > AB 644

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Date of Hearing: May 18, 2011

ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
Felipe Fuentes, Chair

AB 644 (Blumenfield) - As Amended: May 10, 2011

Policy Committee:Natural
ResourcesVote:6-3

Urgency: No State Mandated Local Program:
No Reimbursable: No

SUMMARY

This bill requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to
establish criteria to identify otherwise unusable land fit for
the small-scale generation of renewable electricity.
Specifically, this bill:

1)Requires CEC to establish criteria for identifying a list of
degraded or contaminated land-such as brownfields and unused
agricultural land with no access to water-with a high
potential for use as a site for a renewable energy generation
facility of 50 megawatts or less.

2)Directs CEC to consult with the Department of Recycling and
Resources Recovery, the Department of Toxic Substances Control
and the Department of Conservation.

3)Directs all of these state agencies to make the best efforts
to work with the United States Environmental Protection Agency
(US EPA) pursuant to its RE-Powering America's Land: Sitting
Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Land and Mine
Site Initiative.

FISCAL EFFECT

1)Minor, absorbable costs CEC to establish criteria and identify
lands. (Energy Resources Program Account.)

2)Minor, absorbable costs to other state agencies named in the
bill, though costs to these agencies could be more
substantial, possibly in the hundred thousands of dollars to
each agency depending upon how "best efforts" is interpreted








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in carrying out the bill. (Various special funds.)

COMMENTS

1)Rationale. The author intends this bill to encourage the
development of small-scale renewable electricity generation on
lands which, due to contamination or degradation, are of
little other use.

2)Background.

a) Energy Commission's Roles. The CEC is responsible for
forecasting energy supply and demand, developing and
implementing energy conservation measures, conducting
energy-related research and development programs, and
siting major thermal power plants capable of producing 50
megawatts of electricity or more. Most other electricity
generating facilities-including many types of renewable
energy generating facilities, such as wind turbines and
nonthermal solar arrays-are permitted by local government.

b) US EPA's RE-Powering America.
The US EPA initiative
seeks to encourage the siting of renewable energy
facilities on thousands of currently and formerly
contaminated properties and abandoned mines across the
country. To do so, EPA tracks approximately 490,000 sites
and 15 million acres of potentially contaminated properties
and abandoned mines. EPA claims that these lands are
environmentally and economically beneficial for siting
renewable energy facilities because they (1) offer
thousands of acres of land with few site owners; (2) often
have critical infrastructure in place including electric
transmission lines, roads and water on-site, and are
adequately zoned for such development; (3) provide an
economically viable reuse for sites with significant
cleanup costs or low real estate development demand; (4)
take the stress off undeveloped lands for construction of
new energy facilities, preserving the land carbon sink; and
(5) provide job opportunities in urban and rural
communities.

3)There is no formal support or opposition registered to this
bill.

Analysis Prepared by : Jay Dickenson / APPR. / (916) 319-2081








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