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First U.S. bill to pilot neighborhood-scale decarbonization programs advances in California


For Immediate Release July 2, 2024

Media Contact: 
Jorge Madrid, Tzunu Strategies

Kelly Jones, Office of Senator Dave Min

First U.S. bill to pilot neighborhood-scale decarbonization programs advances in California

SB 1221 will help California regulators and utilities make responsible utility investments and open the door for neighborhood-scale decarbonization pilot programs that align with the state’s affordability, air quality, and climate targets.

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, a bill that can pave the way for zero-emission solutions like neighborhood-scale building decarbonization, as well as ensure long-term energy affordability for Californians, was passed by the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Energy. Senate Bill (SB) 1221 authored by Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine) prioritizes low-income households in the clean energy transition while supporting the state in meeting its six million heat pump goal and climate targets.

“Every gas pipeline that is replaced with zero-emission alternatives has the potential to save Californians millions in utility costs and shrink our carbon footprint – and that’s exactly what SB 1221 is all about,” said Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine). “Through strategic investments in clean infrastructure, we can take meaningful steps toward greater energy affordability and drive progress toward the state’s 2045 climate action goals. That’s a win-win for Californians and the environment.”

In California, utilities spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on gas pipeline replacement, a cost that is passed on to utility customers. These projects can cost more than $3 million per mile and commit utility customers to decades of expensive investment in gas infrastructure that will become obsolete as the state transitions to clean energy. A recent analysis found that investing in clean energy infrastructure rather than replacing aging gas pipelines could save California gas utility customers $20 billion by 2045. SB 1221 would enable the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to redirect spending toward zero-emission alternatives like neighborhood decarbonization where it is the most cost-effective option, saving affected customers approximately $32,000 this year alone.

“We thank Senator Min and state leaders for advancing this important bill,” said Jose Torres, California Director at the Building Decarbonization Coalition. “SB 1221 will help make energy more affordable for Californians by empowering the state to actively plan and invest in clean energy infrastructure. Neighborhood decarbonization will also improve the health, safety and comfort of our homes through appliances like heat pumps, which provide life-saving cooling and clean the air. The good news is that we know that the majority of Californians already support piloting programs with this approach.”

Polling shows that a broad majority (62%) of California voters support a policy to pilot a program that gives residents and businesses the chance to upgrade their neighborhoods to run on 100 percent clean electricity. The poll also shows that most voters worry (62%) that California’s gas pipelines are aging and carry high costs to maintain and replace them.

SB 1221 is sponsored by the Building Decarbonization Coalition, Earthjustice, and the National Resource Defense Council, and supported by a coalition of utilities and environmental organizations. Next, the bill will be heard in the California Assembly Committee on Appropriations by August 16, 2024.

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Senator Dave Min was elected to the 37th Senate District in 2020 and is the Chair of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water, as well as a member of the California Asian American & Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. The 37th Senate District is in the heart of Orange County and includes the communities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Foothill Ranch, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Newport Beach, Orange, Tustin, and Villa Park.

The Building Decarbonization Coalition (BDC) aligns critical stakeholders on a path to transform the nation’s buildings through clean energy, using policy, research, market development, and public engagement. The BDC and its members are charting the course to eliminate fossil fuels in buildings to improve people’s health, cut climate and air pollution, prioritize high road jobs, and ensure that our communities are more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Learn more at