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california legislation > AB 644

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ASSEMBLY THIRD READING
AB 644 (Blumenfield)
As Amended May 10, 2011
Majority vote

NATURAL RESOURCES 6-3 APPROPRIATIONS 12-5

-----------------------------------------------------------------
|Ayes:|Chesbro, Brownley, |Ayes:|Fuentes, Blumenfield, |
| |Dickinson, Huffman, | |Bradford, Charles |
| |Monning, Skinner| |Calderon, Campos, Davis, |
| | | |Gatto, Hall, Hill, Lara, |
| | | |Mitchell, Solorio |
| | | | |
|-----+--------------------------+-----+--------------------------|
|Nays:|Knight, Grove, Halderman |Nays:|Harkey, Donnelly, |
| | | |Nielsen, Smyth, Wagner |
| | | | |
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SUMMARY : Requires the California Energy Commission (CEC) to:
1) establish criteria for identifying closed disposal sites,
brownfields, and degraded agricultural lands that have high
potential for use as sites for renewable generation facilities;
and, 2) prepare a list of lands that meet these criteria.
Specifically, this bill :

1)Requires CEC in consultation with the Department of Resources
Recycling and Recovery (DRRR), Department of Toxic Substances
Control (DTSC), and the Department of Conservation (DOC) to:
a) establish criteria for identifying closed disposal sites,
brownfields, and degraded agricultural lands that have high
potential for use as sites for renewable generation facilities
with a generation capacity of less than 50 megawatts (MWs) of
electricity; and, b) prepare a list of lands that meet these
criteria.

2)Requires CEC, DRRR, DTSC, and DOC to make best efforts to work
with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to avoid
duplicative work as EPA implements the RE-Powering America's
Land: Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated
Land and Mine Site initiative.

EXISTING LAW :









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1)Grants CEC exclusive authority to license thermal power plants
with a generating capacity of 50 MWs or more. Grants local
governments the authority to issue construction permits for
the operation of power plants of less than 50 MWs generating
capacity.

2)Establishes, pursuant to DRRR's regulations, performance
standards and minimum substantive requirements for proper
closure, postclosure maintenance, and ultimate reuse of
disposal sites in the state.

3)Establishes programs under DTSC to facilitate remediation of
brownfields in the state.

4)Establishes programs under DOC to protect and preserve
agricultural land in the state.




FISCAL EFFECT
: According to the Assembly Appropriations
Committee:

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 hundreds of thousands of dollars
to each agency depending upon how "best efforts" is
interpreted in carrying out the bill. (Various special
funds.)

COMMENTS : According to the author, "closed landfills and
brownfields generally have few reuses and present a unique
opportunity for siting renewable energy...The sites often are
located close to roads and transmission lines. While each site
is different, developing state policy that promotes reusing the
land for distributive renewable power generation, including
solar and wind, could help the state advance California's Global
Warming Solutions Act."

This bill seeks to facilitate the siting of renewable energy
projects on closed disposal sites, brownfields, and degraded








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agricultural lands located in the state.

Federal program . EPA has launched the RE-Powering America's
Land: Siting Renewable Energy on Potentially Contaminated Land
and Mine Sites initiative to encourage the siting of renewable
energy facilities on thousands of currently and formerly
contaminated properties and abandoned mines across the country.
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.

EPA has documented several success stories with the Re-Powering
America's Land initiative. One project in Contra Costa County
involves a one MW photovoltaic system. Four other projects in
the state include renewable energy systems that are focused on
powering the remediation efforts. The largest project posted on
the program's Web site is in Wyoming and involves a 16.5 MW wind
energy facility.


Analysis Prepared by
: Mario DeBernardo / NAT. RES. / (916)
319-2092


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