On October 12th, the California Energy Commission approved its emergency regulations implementing AB 205’s opt-in renewable energy permitting provisions.   

The legislation and regulations establish an opt-in permitting process at the CEC for renewable energy, transmission, energy storage, and manufacturing projects in lieu of the traditional local permitting process.   

RCRC provided extensive comments and several proposed modifications to the CEC, several of which were ultimately included in the final regulations.  The draft regulations committed the CEC to inviting local governments to the applicant’s pre-filing consultation meeting, but revisions incorporated RCRC’s suggestion that local governments can review and comment upon the project’s stated economic benefits. 

Other modifications suggested by RCRC and incorporated into the regulations include: 

  • Requiring disclosure of local permits sought by the applicant. 

  • Authorizing the executive director, rather than the Commission, to request additional information of the applicant. 

  • Providing a pathway for the executive director to request additional information of the applicant as suggested by other public agencies, including local governments. 

  • Providing a pathway for post-approval project changes to be considered by the Commission itself rather than always requiring ministerial approval by the executive director 

  • Ensuring that post-approval project changes do not undermine the project’s underlying qualifications to be eligible for the opt-in permitting process and maintain the benefits provided to local governments and community -based organizations. 


The CEC did not include RCRC’s suggestions to ensure that local governments and tribes are notified of meetings, workshops, hearings, and post-approval project modifications.  As a result, the impacted local government will have to subscribe to the project’s listserve in order to receive those notifications.   

The CEC also did not change the threshold for ministerial approval of post-approval project modifications, but did incorporate suggestions by RCRC and Cal Cities to ensure that projects continue to provide the benefits entitling them to the CEC-review process. 

The emergency regulations will now be considered by the Office of Administrative Law and shall remain in effect until subsequently modified by the Commission. 

For more information, contact RCRC Policy Advocate John Kennedy