Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 205 into law on June 30, 2022. AB 205 provides opportunities for developers to opt into a new streamlined environmental review and approval process via the California Energy Commission (CEC) for certain solar, wind, and battery storage projects.
WHO IS AFFECTED?
All developers of onshore utility-scale renewable energy projects. Eligible project types include solar and onshore wind projects greater than 50 megawatts (MW), energy storage system projects that store at least 200 MW-hours, associated generation tie-in infrastructure, and manufacturing facilities related to renewable energy components. Projects must demonstrate net economic benefits, labor union agreements, and prevailing wage, along with community benefits packages, in order to qualify.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
If a qualifying project proponent submits an application with the CEC, the CEC will have exclusive siting authority over the eligible solar, wind, and battery storage projects. Developers will no longer need local land use permits and approval from local jurisdictions. The CEC will act as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lead agency and must review applications within 30 days for completeness. The environmental review must then be completed within another 270 days. The implementing regulations are currently under development and are expected to be released in fall 2022.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our renewable energy experts for guidance on how this could affect your current or future projects in California.