Senator Caballero’s Statement on Senate Bill 386

May 30, 2019

SACRAMENTO – Senator Anna M. Caballero today announced that Senate Bill 386 will be a two-year bill.  In making SB 386 a two-year bill, Senator Caballero stated, “As a representative of Senate District 12, my goal is to fight poverty and to fight for equity for disadvantaged communities. For decades, the poorest communities in California have carried both the environmental and financial burden of climate change. California’s renewable energy goals are laudable, but they should take into account the different ways in which our most disadvantaged communities are affected.”    

The Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts, which provide water and electricity to disadvantaged communities, have spent over $200 million to acquire solar and wind plants to meet state renewable energy requirements, energy they do not need for their ratepayers, energy that they then sell at a discounted price, sometimes to out of state companies. The new procurement requirements under SB 100 mean the districts need to invest over $400 million more for energy they do not need to meet their balancing authority responsibilities. This is bad energy system governance, and greatly affects ratepayer costs.

As amended, SB 386 would allow two publicly owned utilities, the Modesto and Turlock Irrigation Districts, to count their renewable hydro-electric energy towards their renewable procurement requirements. Instead of procuring more energy that they do not need, SB 386 would allow the districts to invest in energy storage solutions, thereby gaining energy and fiscal management flexibility to empower the districts to better manage their energy security and reliability. 

The districts commented on the importance of SB 386, “The ability to utilize and count Don Pedro hydro – our existing clean, reliable and renewable resource – in our renewables portfolio will save our customers at least $14 million in the next ten years,” said Modesto Irrigation District General Manager Scott Furgerson. “We appreciate Senator Caballero’s persistence in advocating for this sensible change in California’s consideration of large hydro as a renewable resource.”

"TID is thankful for Senator Caballero's leadership on this important issue. We look forward to working with her over the coming months on a path toward ensuring our community's early investment in carbon-free electricity is appropriately recognized by the state as part of the solution to reaching our state's climate goals” said Casey Hashimoto, General Manager for Turlock Irrigation District. “TID is committed to helping the state reach those goals, but success must be achieved in a fair and equitable manner that protects our customers while keeping the lights on."

Senator Caballero continued, “There is something fundamentally wrong when a disadvantaged community, in its fight for equity, is demonized and portrayed as undoing California’s entire RPS program, when currently, there are communities like San Francisco and Palo Alto that count their hydro as renewable, exactly what SB 386 is trying to do for Central Valley families. Equity demands we treat hydro energy as a renewable resource and spend ratepayers’ money on energy storage.”

Senator Anna M. Caballero represents the 12th Senate District, composed of Merced and San Benito Counties, the Salinas Valley, and portions of Fresno, Madera, and Stanislaus Counties.