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.

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: Utilities, groups at odds over sources for renewable energy

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Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation coming to a head...

LA Times has an excellent piece on the debate over the Renewable Portfolio Standard, "Environmentalists, unions and utilities seem to accept the governor's goal of getting a third of electricity from renewable sources. They just differ on how to get there.
A big sticking point in the debate is how much renewable power the state's utilities are allowed to buy or generate out of state. The current law has no limit...labor unions and their allies want a provision in pending legislation that at least 80% of the power be generated in California."

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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