Earlier this week, RCRC submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in response to a request for stakeholder guidance on how to refine the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP), which offers rebates for installing energy storage systems, and whether the program should be expanded to include Electric Vehicles (EVs) and related charging systems.
RCRC’s SGIP comments acknowledged that the focus should not be on “boosting enrollment” or broadening eligibility, thereby prematurely exhausting funds. Rather, through eligibility refinements, the program should be flexible enough to provide priority assistance to those in greatest need. Those would include communities at high risk of power shutoff, communities predominately or wholly dependent on wireline communications, customers at the greatest risk of future Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) events, and the medically vulnerable. Among the questions posed to stakeholders, the CPUC asked how to make EVs and charging systems eligible for inclusion in the SGIP program. While EV and charging technologies may provide another pathway to increasing energy resilience, expansion of the SGIP to these technologies carries the risk that these scarce resources would be diverted to subsidize higher-income customers in affluent communities that are already comparatively saturated with EVs and charging stations. RCRC also urged the CPUC to reevaluate its reliance on the area-median income (AMI), as that formula results in greater use of the SGIP program by more affluent, higher income jurisdictions at the expense of lower-income communities where fewer resources and funding opportunities are available. Read RCRC’s comments here.
Also this week, RCRC filed a motion for party status to participate in a proceeding pertaining to the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program. A recent petition by several environmental groups will, if granted, adversely impact biomass facilities and the BioMAT program. If granted party status, RCRC will strongly urge the CPUC to reject the petition. RCRC counties host numerous biomass facilities which help to deal with material that would otherwise be left to decompose naturally, be managed through open burning, or fuel future wildfires. Biomass facilities play an integral role in crucially important forest health and wildfire prevention projects.