California Gov. Gavin Newsom this week appointed David Hochschild, a former solar energy executive and current commissioner, as new chair of the California Energy Commission.
Hochschild replaces Robert Weisenmiller who plans to resign on February 21, after eight years as chair during the tenure of former Gov. Jerry Brown.
Before joining the energy commission in 2013, Hochschild was vice president of external affairs at Solaria for six years. The Berkeley resident also served as executive director at PV Now from 2005 to 2007 and co-founded the Vote Solar Initiative, where he served as director of policy from 2002 to 2005.
Hochschild was special assistant to San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown from 2000 to 2001; program director at The President’s Award, Port Alfred, South Africa from 1996 to 1997; and commissioner on the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission from 2007 to 2008.
Newsom also appointed Janea Scott as commission vice chair. Scott has served on the commission since 2013 and was previously deputy counselor for renewable energy and special assistant to the counselor at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Secretary. She held multiple positions at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2000 to 2009, including senior attorney and staff attorney.
The new commission line up comes as California heightens its clean energy and microgrid efforts under laws passed last year.
SB 100 sets a goal to make the state’s electricity sector 100 percent zero-carbon by 2045. SB 1339 requires that utilities take action to support microgrids, including developing tariffs and other methods to reduce barriers to their deployment.
Also on the microgrid front, the CEC has issued two major grant programs for microgrids, most recently $50 million to boost commercialization of microgrids, a follow up to a $26.5 million grant offering in 2014 for microgrid demonstration projects. The commission last year issued a report featuring 26 microgrid case studies from California, North America, and other countries that make innovative business cases and rely on government support for less than 50 percent of project costs. In addition, the state is creating a microgrid roadmap to guide policy and regulation.
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