BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



          SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY, UTILITIES AND COMMUNICATIONS
                              Senator Ben Hueso, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

          Bill No:          AB 568            Hearing Date:    6/16/2015
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          |Author:    |Dodd                                                 |
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          |Version:   |5/14/2015    As amended                              |
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          |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:      |No              |
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          |Consultant:|Jay Dickenson                                        |
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          SUBJECT: Reclamation District No. 108:  hydroelectric power

            DIGEST:    This bill allows Reclamation District No. 108 (RD  
          108), on the western edge of the Sacramento River, to construct  
          and operate a hydroelectric powerplant and transmission lines.  

          ANALYSIS:
          
          Existing law:
          
          1)Authorizes the formation of reclamation districts for the  
            reclamation of any land within any city, which land is subject  
            in any manner, to overflow or incursions from the tide or  
            inland waters of the state and proscribes the powers of such  
            districts.  (Water Code 50110 et sec.)


          2)Authorizes Reclamation District No. 1004 (RD 1004), in  
            conjunction with the County of Colusa, to construct, maintain  
            and operate a plant for the generation of hydroelectric power.  
             (Water Code 50906)


          3)Allows RD 1004 to lease the hydroelectric plant, transmission  
            lines, and related facilities, and sell the power generated to  
            a public utility or public agency engaged in the distribution,  
            use or sale of electricity.  (Water Code 50906)


          4)Allows the construction of the plant and transmission lines to  
            be financed by the issuance of time warrants, and allows the  







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            RD 1004 Board of Trustees, by resolution, to only use the  
            proceeds from the hydroelectric power plant, instead of  
            assessments, to pay for the time warrants.  (Water Code  
            50906)


          5)Requires proceeds from the sale of electricity to be utilized  
            to retire any time warrants issued for construction of the  
            facilities and otherwise for the powers and purposes for which  
            the district was formed.  (Water Code 50906)


          6)Prohibits RD 1004 from selling the power directly to the  
            customer, other than to a public utility or public agency.   
            (Water Code 50906)


          This bill:

          1)Provides RD 108 all the powers and authorities related to the  
            hydroelectric power currently enjoyed by RD 1004, as described  
            above under "Existing law."


          2)Repeals the provisions described above, for RD 108 only, as of  
            January 1, 2021.


          Background

          Reclamation districts.  Reclamation districts provide flood  
          protection to the Central Valley.  Stature provides for the  
          formation, governance and powers of various types of special  
          districts, including reclamation districts.  Statute provides  
          several types of special districts with the authority to operate  
          hydroelectric power generation facilities.  However, statute  
          does not provide reclamation districts with this power,  
          generally.  One exception is RD 1004 in Colusa County, which  
          statute, in 1984, authorized to construct, maintain, and operate  
          a plant for the generation of hydroelectric power.

          Reclamation District No.108.  RD 108, as described on its  
          website, is located along the western edge of the Sacramento  
          River and delivers water to nearly 48,000 acres of farmland  
          within southern Colusa County and northern Yolo County.  The  








          AB 568 (Dodd)                                       Page 3 of ?
          
          
          district was formed in 1870 to build levees and reclaim flooded  
          land.  

          According to the author, RD 108 uses a significant amount of  
          energy operating its pumping facilities.  The district has  
          constructed a 386 kilowatt solar electricity generating  
          facility.  In addition, the district has joined a joint powers  
          authority (JPA) with Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District,  
          Tehama-Colusa Canal Authority, Maxwell Irrigation District,  
          Glenn County, Colusa County, and the Yolo County Flood Control  
          and Water Conservation District.  As a member of the JPA, the  
          reclamation district expects to benefit from generation of  
          hydropower following development of the proposed Sites Reservoir  
          north of the Delta.  However, the district does not have the  
          authority to construct or operate such a hydropower facility or  
          to transmit or sell the electricity its produces.  AB 568 would  
          grant RD 108 such authority.

          Not without controversy.  As mentioned above, statute allows  
          many special districts that manage water to build and operate  
          hydroelectric facilities.  It is unclear why reclamation  
          districts are not, generally, provided the same authority.  The  
          proposal to allow RD 108 to construct and operate a  
          hydroelectric facility is not particularly controversial.   
          However, development of the Sites Reservoir is controversial.   
          Several conservation and environmental organizations oppose this  
          bill because it would facilitate development of the reservoir.   
          These groups contend the reservoir would harm the Delta  
          ecosystem while providing few, if any, resource management  
          benefits.

          FISCAL EFFECT:                 Appropriation:  No    Fiscal  
          Com.:             No           Local:          No


            ASSEMBLY VOTES:
          
          Assembly Floor                          (75-0)
          Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee(15-0)
          Assembly Local Government Committee(9-0)
            
          SUPPORT:  

          Northern California Water Association (Source)
          California Municipal Utilities Association








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          Colusa County
          Water Resources Association of Yolo County
          Yolo County

          OPPOSITION:

          American Whitewater
          California Outdoors
          California Sportfishing Protection Alliance
          Foothill Conservancy
          Friends of the River
          Sierra Club California

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:    Proponents claim this bill will allow  
          RD 108 to reduce its energy costs in an environmentally  
          responsible way.

          ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION:    Opponents contend this bill would  
          facilitate development of the Sites Reservoir, which they  
          contend would harm the Delta ecosystem while providing few, if  
          any, resource management benefits.


          
          

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