California's Debate Over What Constitutes Renewable Energy

The goal is to increase California's use of clean, renewable sources of electricity so as to meet the state's climate protection goal. Two bills are being debated that will require that 33% of electricity sources be composed of renewables by 2020.
August 25, 2009, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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It was only three years ago that California passed SB 107 requiring that the Renewable Portfolio Standard for California's investor-owned utilities reach 20% by 2010. Never mind that the current RPS is only 13% - environmentalists and labor unions want to drastically increase it to ensure that green jobs are created in-state and global warming emissions are reduced.

Two bills, SB 14 and AB 64 would both increase the RPS to 33% by 2020 for both public and invester-owned utilities.

"Utilities say they can't meet the 2020 goal unless the state allows them relatively free access to renewable power generated far beyond the state's borders, in places like Wyoming and British Columbia.

Labor and environmental groups accept the need for some of the power to come from out of state, but they're pushing for legislation that encourages production capacity to be built in California. That, they say, would foster a more robust green economy and spur development of more small-scale, local power sources like rooftop solar panels that don't need new transmission lines."

The Air Resource's Board Greenhouse Gas Inventory of 2004 shows that electricity-production accounts for 25% while transportation is the largest source at 38%.

Thanks to Bill Haller

Full Story:
Published on Monday, August 24, 2009 in The Sacramento Bee
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