2022 California Climate Wins & Electrify CA!

John Howe, Policy Analyst

Date: 12/20/2022
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In 2021, the Let’s Green CA! team crafted a policy framework to get California within striking distance of its 2030 climate goals.

Electrify CA! proposes a suite of policies to rapidly and equitably transition the Golden State toward clean transportation and all-electric residential buildings. We celebrated a huge victory in 2022 when Clean Car Equity legislation SB 1230, inspired by Electrify CA!, became law.

In order to move forward, we believe it’s important to look back. So, as we move towards 2023, we took a look at the 2021-2022 legislative session through the lens of our Electrify CA! framework.

Accelerating Clean Car Adoption

“This framework proposes that California aim for all new light duty vehicles (LDVs) to use low or zero carbon energy sources and technology by 2027, 90 percent of which will be battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with the remaining 10 percent powered by other low- or zero-carbon fuels, such as fuel cells or hybrids running on hydrogen and other renewable fuels.” – Electrify CA!

Drastic strides to accelerate electric vehicle (EV) adoption have been made in California over the past year, including the passage of our own bill, SB 1230, and the development of Advanced Clean Cars II — a rule that declares no new gas cars will be sold in California after 2035. With a roadmap to achieving 100% new electric vehicle sales by 2035, massive investments in EV charging infrastructure, and a simplified process to EV incentives, 2022 was a hugely successful year for clean transportation. Here are are a few notable pieces of legislation:

Passed

  • AB1738: (Horvath) requires apartment buildings and multi-family units to install EV charging stations and infrastructure in common area parking lots during retrofitting projects.

  • SB1230: (Limón) accelerates the state's transition to clean transportation by simplifying and streamlining existing clean car incentive programs. (Inspired by Electrify CA!, this bill was co-sponsored by LGCA and the Dolores Huerta Foundation!)

Failed

  • SB 1482 (Allen): proposed mandatory EV charging infrastructure for new multifamily dwelling developments. In his letter to the legislature, Governor Newsom said that he agrees with the intent of this bill but that it is best handled administratively.

Net Zero Energy Infrastructure

“We must accelerate reduction in transportation sector emissions while at the same time protecting and advancing gains in the [clean] electricity sector. A multi-pronged approach is needed to address [increased demand for clean electricity] from the transition from fossil fueled vehicles to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs)” – Electrify CA!

Two Central Coast legislators, State Senators Monique Limón and John Laird, passed legislation that reduced oil production and created new standards for achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045. However, legislation that would move up California’s emission reduction goals failed to become law.

Passed

  • SB 1020 (Laird): A current law already requires 100% of retail electricity to be fueled by renewables such as wind and solar by 2045. SB 1020 would add additional energy goals: 90% renewables by 2035 and 95% by 2040. In addition, all state agencies must source their energy from 100% renewable sources by 2035, ten years sooner than law now requires.

  • SB 1314: (Limón) ensures that carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects do not result in increased oil production. CCUS is a process that uses the pressure from pumping carbon underground to extract additional oil that would not be recoverable otherwise.

Failed

  • AB 2133 (Quirk): would have set California’s target at 55% below the state’s 1990 emissions, up from the current 40% target. Some legislators held the opinion that this goal was too ambitious because the state is not on target to meet its current goals.

Battery Resource Reduction, Reuse, & Recycling

“This legislation proposes measures to reduce demand for transportation energy by improving average clean vehicle fleet efficiency, promoting reuse by creating new and expanded incentives for second-life battery projects, and enabling economical battery recycling through regulations and market incentives.” – Electrify CA!

While there wasn’t progress at the state level on battery recycling, there were considerable changes made on the federal level due to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Through incentives offered by the IRA, there is a massive investment expected in every aspect of the production and supply chain of batteries. The development of the North American battery mining and production industry will accelerate the EV and battery storage market and lays the groundwork for California to make progress in its reduction, reuse, and recycling of batteries.

Transportation Efficiency & Safety

“A critical component to equitably achieving net zero new energy demand from transportation is to directly reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in single passenger vehicles by helping people get out of their cars and onto public transit, bikes, scooters, and other multimodal forms of transportation” – Electrify CA!

Transportation efficiency had a difficult year at both the state and federal level. In California, the opportunity to create a free transit program for students was dismissed because of budgetary concerns. On the federal level, incentives for e-bikes were removed from the IRA, furthering our dependence on cars.

Economic & Environmental Justice

“Two principles are key to ensuring an equitable transition: first, we must expand and transform consumer incentives so that they serve all Californians, regardless of income. Second, we must use the state’s investment in clean energy and transportation infrastructure to promote strong labor standards, such as prevailing wage for workers, community benefit agreements, and the growth of a skilled and trained workforce” – Electrify CA!

EJ communities across the state celebrated a huge win this year by passing SB 1137 into law and protecting millions of Californians from the health hazards of oil and gas drilling. Unfortunately, other protections for the EJ community did not pass because of budget limitations and/or lack of support in Sacramento. We hope to see a reiteration of AB 1634 in the next legislative session and aim to defeat a referendum campaign, led by Big Oil, against SB 1137.

Passed

  • SB 1137 (Gonzalez): requires that there is a buffer zone of 3,200 feet between all new oil and gas drilling wells from homes, schools, and hospitals.

Failed

  • SB 222 (Dodd): would have offered state assistance to low income residents who struggle to pay for water and sewage utilities. Supported by the EJ community, but funding was not available.

  • AB 2419 (Bryan): would have codified the Justice40 federal initiative and invested 40% of federal investment to low-income and disadvantaged communities.

  • AB 1634 (Boerner-Horvath): would create a pathway for the legislature to create the Office of the Just Transition in the Labor and Workforce Development Agency to assist workers and communities in transitioning towards a clean workforce and economy.

Conclusions

As we look back at the 2021-2022 legislative session through the lens of our Electrify CA! framework, we see that California has once again proved itself as a leader in renewable energy and environmental justice. From the Governor signing SB 1230 to CARB approving Advanced Clean Cars II, massive strides have been made in accelerating EV adoption. To improve upon this year's developments, in 2023 we need to think creatively about transportation efficiency, battery usage, and how we can offer more opportunities to frontline communities to participate in a transition to renewable energy. We look forward to working with you to make the next phase of Electrify CA! a reality.

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