On April 9, APGA’s Executive Vice President, Dave Schryver, participated in a hearing in the California Assembly’s Natural Resources Committee on state legislation, AB3232, which would require the California Energy Commission to establish a plan to achieve the goal that all new residential and nonresidential buildings built on or after January 1, 2030, to be zero-emission buildings. The hearing began with the bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Friedman, discussing the bill. Some of her key points included:
- The greenhouse gas emissions of buildings in California are greater than the emissions of all the power plants in the state and this must be addressed if the state is to meet its climate goals; and,
- The intent of the bill is not to mandate electrification and she is willing to work with the opposition to ensure that renewable natural gas is treated fairly in the bill.
Witnesses who spoke up in support of her bill included: Efficiency First California; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Natural Resources Defense Council, which stated that building sector emissions represent 25 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emission; and an architect and engineering group. Other groups that spoke up on support of the bill included: the Sierra Club; the California American Lung Association; Earth Justice; and, Fossil Free California.
There were also several groups that spoke up in opposition to the bill. Those groups included the California Renewable Gas Association, who communicated that they agreed with the intent of the bill but believe the bill would lead to more electrification and in turn greater emissions. They communicated they are working on a study of the emissions impacts. The Building Industry Association communicated that this bill would be a quantum leap in building standards and would lead to impacts on the grid and grid reliability. The California Manufacturing and Technology Institute expressed concerns regarding the impact the bill would have on industrial rate payers.
Other groups that weighed in to add their name to the opposition included: the Western Propane Gas Association; the California Natural Gas Producers Association; several business and dairy groups; and Dave Schryver of APGA communicated APGA’s opposition. At this time, Assemblywoman Melendez stated she would like to hear more from APGA and Dave was allowed to address the Committee. In his remarks, Dave communicated that:
- Restricting Californians’ right to choose what energy resource best fits their needs will ultimately increase their energy costs, lead to a less reliable energy system and produce little or no environmental benefits.
- Natural gas is delivered to Californians at three times the efficiency and one-third the cost of electricity.
- Households that use all-electric appliances pay almost $900 a year more than mixed-fuel homes. This will unfairly place low and fixed-income families in the uncomfortable position of having to choose whether to pay for energy versus other necessities such as food, medicine, child care, and more.
Ultimately, the committee voted 6-3 to advance the bill to the Energy and Utilities Committee.
For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.