New Model Laws from the LPDD Team
In the past month, the LPDD team was proud to announce the publication of four new model laws and a best practices guide, and model state and local legislation. Two new model laws and the best practices document address hydrogen fueling stations for heavy duty vehicles. A third model law would create a federal requirement that metropolitan planning organizations consider GHG reductions in transportation planning. The fourth model law provides a legislative structure for establishment of a green bank.
Model Local Ordinance Adopting NFPA Hydrogen Technologies Code: Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are one of the most promising technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heavy-duty vehicles (e.g., trucks and buses). Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles face a number of barriers, including lack of an adequate network of hydrogen fueling stations. The most important requirements for hydrogen fueling stations are the safety standards codified in the National Fire Protection Association 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code (“NFPA 2”). This code is, therefore, a municipal ordinance that adopts NFPA 2. It is based on NFPA 2, Annex C, Sample Ordinance Adopting NFPA 2.
Model State Statute on Updating Fire Codes Periodically: As noted above, the most important requirements for hydrogen fueling stations are the safety standards codified in the National Fire Protection Association 2, Hydrogen Technologies Code (“NFPA 2”). Some states, however, have adopted an edition of a national model fire code that is out of date. To deal with this problem, a state can pass legislation to ensure that its fire code is regularly updated. The model given here is based on a Florida statute. It requires the State Fire Marshal (or an equivalent state official) to adopt the current edition of a national model fire code as the state fire code, and update it every three years.
Best Practices Guide to Streamlining Siting, Permitting, and Construction of Hydrogen Fueling Stations: This best practices guide addresses how to overcome economic barriers to hydrogen fueling stations, and avoid time-consuming pitfalls in the siting, permitting, and construction processes.
Model Legislation Mandating Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Reduction as Part of Metropolitan Transportation Planning: Under federal law, states must establish a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) for each urban area with a population of at least 50,000. MPOs are subject to a variety of requirements, including the obligation to engage in a continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative transportation planning process for the urban area for which it has been established. Under current law, MPOs may consider a project’s potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is not required. The model federal legislation accompanying this memorandum would establish such a requirement. Under the bill, the metropolitan planning process would be required to provide for consideration of projects and strategies that will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the transportation system.
Model Green Bank State and Local Legislation: This Model Legislation provides the legislative structure to establish a green bank following the nonprofit model and takes its basic structure from the Nevada Clean Energy Fund legislation. However, the provisions contained herein can also be used by lawmakers and regulators alike for purposes of establishing and structuring a public or quasi-public green bank through either the legislative or regulatory process. Provisions from proposed federal legislation and green bank legislation enacted in certain other states have been incorporated to provide flexibility based on a given locality’s resources, political and environmental goals, and unique geographical considerations.
Highlighted New External Resources
LPDD.org is being continually updated with new legal resources. Below is a brief selection of recently added resources of special interest.
Hawaii’s Coal Ban: In July, Hawaii became the most recent state to ban coal-fired electricity generation beyond a date certain. Hawaii Senate Bill 2629 bans coal burning in Hawaii by 2022, which coincides with the date AES Hawaii is expected to shutter Hawaii’s last coal-burning plant. Hawaii’s only coal-burning power station is on O’ahu and accounted for 13% of the state’s electricity generation in 2018. Along with barring utilities from adding new coal-fired electricity generation, S.B. 2629 bans them from extending existing purchase agreements with coal-burning facilities past 2022.
California’s Climate Catalyst Revolving Loan Fund: This summer, California passed AB78 to establish the Climate Catalyst Revolving Loan Fund to provide low-cost, low-interest finance to support eligible low carbon technology and infrastructure projects and attract private capital. The bill tasks the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) with administering the Climate Catalyst Fund. While California has made large investments with cap-and-trade dollars into other projects, this fund is projected to fill a different role: offering new money to smaller enterprises whose projects are not yet far enough along for larger investors to feel comfortable stepping in.
Regulatory Solutions for Building Decarbonization: Tools for Commissions and Other Government Agencies: In July, the Regulatory Assistance Project published a report highlighting policy options to replace gas appliances with efficient electric alternatives. It provides a framework for the comprehensive regulatory reforms required to transition to clean energy in the US building sector, along with more than 40 specific recommendations for action. Topics discussed include aligning efficiency policies with decarbonization, updating rate design and system planning models, and managing stranded asset risk.
National Standard Practice Manual for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Distributed Energy Resources: Of special interest to jurisdictions considering revising tariffs for distributed energy resources or valuing efficiency or electrification initiatives, in August 2020 the National Energy Screening Project published a new guide on valuing distributed energy resources. The 2020 National Standard Practice Manual for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Distributed Energy Resources (NSPM for DERs) provides a comprehensive framework for cost-effectiveness assessment of DERs. The manual provides a set of policy-neutral, economically-sound principles, concepts, and methodologies to support single- and multi-DER benefit-cost analysis for: energy efficiency, demand response, distributed generation, distributed storage, and building and vehicle electrification. The manual is intended for use by jurisdictions to help inform which resources to acquire to meet the jurisdiction’s specific policy goals and objectives.
Pathway Highlight: Green Recovery: While Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States was published before the COVID-19 crisis, the text deeply contemplates issues around providing for a just energy transition and avoiding stranded assets (particularly in Chapter 24), which issues are at the heart of the discourse around a green recovery. As this topic is of timely importance for many levels of government, we will continue to follow green recovery proposals closely, and post some of them here.