Governor Signs Bill to Support Collaboration and Clean Energy Goals with Native American Tribes

Contact: Samantha Samuelsen – 916-651-4917

SACRAMENTO – Today, Governor Newsom announced the signing of Senate Bill 479, authored by State Senator John Laird (D – Santa Cruz).  Senate Bill 479 expands the list of eligible local governments to participate in the Renewable Energy Self-Generation Bill Credit Transfer Program (RES-BCT) to include tribal governments. Originally created by AB 2466, authored by then-Assemblymember Laird, in 2008, the RES-BCT program allows qualifying entities with one or more eligible renewable generating facilities to export energy to the grid and receive generation credits to benefitting accounts of the same local government. Through the RES-BCT program, a city with solar panels on the roof of a municipal parking structure may use the earned credits to power the municipal swimming pool in another location across town.

“In order for California to meet our climate goals, we must all have a seat at the table in shaping our collective clean energy future. This affirms the inclusion of Native American tribes as we work toward sustainable, renewable energy in every community,” stated State Senator Laird. “As sea levels rise and climate change lends to longer and deadlier wildfire seasons, the need to support the efforts of local leaders, including Native American Tribes, to embrace efficient, renewable energy generation has never been clearer. I applaud Governor Newsom for signing SB 479 into law, that will increase partnership with Native American Tribes on strategic and shared clean energy goals.”

Since the enactment of the original statute, the Legislature has expanded the program numerous times. In 2009, AB 1031 (Blumenfield) expanded the program to include individual campuses of the University of California or California State University systems. In 2011, AB 512 (Gordon) expanded the program by increasing the capacity of a power plant from 1 MW to 5 MW. And in 2016, AB 1773 (Obernolte) expanded the program to include Joint Powers Authorities.

Senate Bill 479 will take effect January 1, 2022, and it is expected that the California Public Utilities Commission will approve the program eligibility expansion before this date or shortly thereafter.


Senator John Laird represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Luis Obispo counties, as well as parts of Santa Clara County. He previously served as the Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, member of the State Integrated Waste Management Board, a member of the State Assembly, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Aids Project, and two terms as Santa Cruz Mayor. His lifetime of public service and social justice advocacy saw him become one of the first openly gay mayors to serve in the United States. Senator Laird has been a long-time resident of Santa Cruz with his spouse John Flores.