Renewable Energy

Senate Bill 100: The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 (de León, 2018) sets ambitious targets for the electricity sector, including zero GHG emissions by 2045. As a result of Senate Bill 100 and other renewable energy requirements, investment in renewable resources such as solar, wind, energy storage, and hydropower continues to grow throughout the state.

The Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) provides support towards the 100 percent clean energy goal:

  • Providing resources to local jurisdictions and the public to streamline renewable energy installation, such as the California Solar Permitting Guidebook and the upcoming Energy Storage Guide.
  • Updating local governments on renewable energy legislation and emerging renewable energy goals, policies and actions that can be taken locally.  Many of these updates can be found in the General Plan Guidelines.
  • Providing guidance to federal, state, and local agencies and others regarding renewable energy projects that are subject to both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
  • Serving as a liaison to coordinate effective inclusion of the United States Department of Defense in the development and implementation of state renewable energy projects, such as offshore wind energy.
  • Supporting capacity building initiatives such as the CivicSpark Governor’s AmeriCorps Program and other research and partnerships to engage and inform on community resilience needs.
  • Helping to prepare local governments for climate impacts to California’s energy system, such as those found in the State Adaptation Clearinghouse.
  • Tracking financing and funding opportunities for renewable energy projects.

Information on resources for renewables and helpful links are provided below.

Assembly Bill 2188

Assembly Bill 2188 (Muratsuchi, 2014) requires local jurisdictions to “substantially conform” their permitting process with the recommendations set forth in  OPR’s Solar Permitting Guidebook, which provides for an expedited and streamline process.

Solar Permitting Guidebook

The Solar Permitting Guidebook explains current requirements for solar PV installations, describes key steps in the permitting process, and recommends ways to improve local permitting. It also includes several template documents for local governments to customize.

Past editions:

Additional Solar System Resources:

Assembly Bill 546 (Chiu, 2017) requires all jurisdictions in California to make all documents and forms associated with the permitting of advanced energy storage available on a public website by January 31, 2019. The law also requires all jurisdictions to allow for electronic signatures and electronic submission of permit applications and associated documents.

Assembly Bill 546 also authorized OPR to provide guidance on energy storage permitting for local governments.

OPR is working with the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) Research Program to develop an Energy Storage Guide. This publication will help local jurisdictions standardize permitting requirements and timeframes without sacrificing important safety protections. Presentations from the August 21st, 2018 OPR/CEC technical scoping workshop, which included discussion of energy storage permitting and approval challenges faced by customers, industry representatives, and local governments, are linked below.

OPR will publish the final guide on this website by 2020.

In addition, OPR is continually seeking examples of permitting templates, documents, and resources to share with jurisdictions for wider use. If you would like to submit examples you can do so by emailing Trelynd.Bowles@opr.ca.gov.

Senate Bill 246 (Wieckowski, 2015) created the Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program (ICARP) within OPR, to promote greater climate resilience and adaptation actions throughout the state and to support local and regional resilience and adaptation actions. One main component of ICARP is the State Adaptation Clearinghouse, which includes, a multitude of adaptation and resilience resources relevant to the energy sector. The State Adaptation Clearinghouse features a searchable database organized by topic, type, region, and climate impact. Many resources are relevant to local governments seeking to partner with utilities in order to provide energy security, reduce energy demand, improve system reliability, and prepare for the effects of climate change.

OPR staff track financing and funding opportunities for renewable energy projects, set forth below. OPR provides this information as a service to interested parties, but the listing does not represent an endorsement or promotion of any kind.

Solar Financing

California Climate Investments Programs

Additional Financing