Two major hydropower-related bills died for this year in the California Legislature as May 31 marked the deadline for bills to pass out of their houses of origin.
Senate Bill 386, introduced by Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Salinas), would have allowed Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District to count the output from the 203-MW Don Pedro hydroelectric project toward the renewables portion of the state’s renewable portfolio standard [P-2299] (WPW No. 16 ).
Existing hydroelectric facilities larger than 30 MW count toward the state’s 100 percent zero-carbon resources goal but not the RPS requirements, because only eligible renewable energy resources count toward the 60 percent.
The Turlock and Modesto irrigation districts, owners of the Don Pedro project, say their customers must spend millions of dollars to procure RPS-eligible resources because of the program’s structure, even though they already own a zero-carbon resource.
Another hydroelectric-related bill, SB 772, would have supported a proposed 1.3-GW pumped-storage hydroelectric project near the Joshua Tree National Park that has drawn opposition from environmentalists because of its usage of underground aquifers.
The bill would have required the California Independent System Operator by June 30 2022, to complete a competitive solicitation process for the procurement of one or more long-duration energy storage projects that have at least 2,000 MW aggregate capacity, but not more than 2,400 MW, and to require another solicitation for up to 2,000 MW after Dec. 31, 2030, if found to be necessary.
It defined “long-duration bulk storage project” as one that is able to discharge at its capacity continuously for at least eight hours, has at least 400 MW capacity, has been proven by way of deployment, and has a minimum useful asset life of 40 years.
SB 772 was introduced by Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Los Angeles), who on May 30 requested it be put in the inactive file after it failed to gain enough support.
The bill was meant to bolster the Eagle Mountain hydroelectric project [P-13123], under development by NextEra Energy, which is proposed on the site of the inactive Eagle Mountain iron ore mine, and would be a closed-loop, pumped-storage facility on private and federal land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.
FERC on May 7 granted a two-year extension of a deadline to commence construction requested by the developer of the project in Riverside County (WPW No. 16 ).