(SACRAMENTO) – A new bill by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez that secures funds for renewable energy planning grants is in print. AB 1060 reauthorizes a grant program created by Pérez in 2011 that provides funding to local jurisdictions in in the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) area to facilitate renewable energy development.
“In Imperial County and elsewhere, this grant program has been very helpful in helping local jurisdictions to make the revisions and updates to planning documents needed to support renewable energy build out,” said Pérez. “But not all those eligible have been able to benefit from these grants, and this bill extends the program and funding authorization to allow more time for them to apply.”
The DRECP is a multi-agency, multi-county collaboration to protect desert ecosystems while facilitating the development of compatible renewable energy projects. The planning grant program was created by Pérez with his bill ABx13 (Chapter 10, Statutes of 2011). It made $7 million in funds available for jurisdictions in the DRECP area to update general plans, zoning ordinances and other planning documents needed for renewable energy development. In 2012, Pérez authored AB 1255 (Chapter 250), which simplifies the process used by local governments to apply for the grants.
Since the program was initiated, grants have been awarded to Imperial, Inyo, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and San Luis Obispo counties. Not all eligible jurisdictions have applied for the grants, including Riverside County. With the program slated to sunset, AB 1060 simply re-appropriates the unused funds — $3,658,848 — and extends the deadline to June 30, 2014.
“This is an end of session effort to make sure these funds don’t disappear when they can still be of great use to local governments in the desert region,” said Pérez. “My hope is that counties like Riverside that have not yet taken advantage of these grants will use the additional time provided by the bill to secure the funding that will help support our region’s renewable energy future.”
AB 1060 is jointly authored with Antelope Valley legislator Assemblyman Steve Fox (D-Palmdale) and is currently in Senate Appropriations. Pérez represents the 56th Assembly district, a region with an abundance of renewable resource potential. He is the author of a series of bills to facilitate responsible renewable energy development while balancing economic opportunity, environmental protection, and job creation.
To read the text of the new law, please visit the state’s legislative information website.