New law will help achieve BART energy goals and save money

09.20.19

New law will help achieve BART energy goals and save money

BART’s commitment to 100% clean, renewable electric supply by 2045 took a major step forward thanks to a bill signed into law September 20th by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 923, authored by East Bay Assemblymember Buffy Wicks, grants BART unrestricted access to California’s wholesale energy markets, as well as broader access to more diverse sources of greenhouse gas (GHG)-free energy. The new law could also save BART an estimated $415,000 to $1.2 million a year without increasing costs to the state or other market participants. 

“As one of Northern California’s largest end users of energy, it’s our responsibility at BART to be leaders in the use of environmentally-responsible electricity,” said BART Board President Bevan Dufty. “We want to thank the Governor and the Legislature for their support of BART continuing its leadership role.”

Unrestricted access to wholesale electric markets will allow BART to balance its intermittent renewable generation from solar, wind and small hydroelectric resources reliably and economically, consistent with the operations of other wholesale market participants. This new authority is critically important now as BART prepares to bring online two wholesale renewable projects in 2021 which together will supply approximately 80 percent of the District’s annual electric needs.

"I am very excited to have my first bill signed into law and especially proud that this bill will have a direct and meaningful impact on the people of the East Bay," said Assemblymember Wicks. "This law will both save BART significant resources and have a positive impact on the environment by giving BART access to more clean energy sources, making it a win-win. I am grateful to Governor Gavin Newsom for signing it into law."

The BART Board adopted a Wholesale Electricity Policy in 2017, which identified clear objectives, including commitments that meet or exceed the State’s clean energy policy goals. At the same time, BART’s demand for electricity is projected to grow. The BART to Silicon Valley extension and modernization of BART’s train control system are expected to increase BART’s electric requirements by as much as 20% in the near future.

The transportation sector accounts for approximately 40% of the state’s GHG emissions.  As a transit agency, BART’s clean energy commitments contribute directly to advancing California’s long-term goals to decarbonize the transportation sector. Provisions within AB 923 will take effect January 1, 2020.