California Requires 33 Percent Renewable Energy Standard--Again
The most aggressive renewable portfolio standard in the country became law (again) earlier this week. Former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order in September 2009 requiring that the utilities in California obtain 33% of all their energy from renewables by 2020. But as we indicated in our solar news article about the executive order, the governor bypassed the California legislature, throwing into question whether the executive order was legal.
Now, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Schwarzenegger's successor in the Governor's office, Jerry Brown, signed into law, not just by executive order, the 33% renewable energy standard. According to the article, the new law requires that all of the state's utilities reach 33 percent in three steps: "First, they must satisfy the original 20 percent goal by the end of 2013, at the latest. By Dec. 31, 2016, 25 percent of the electricity they sell must come from renewable sources. Finally, they must hit 33 percent by Dec. 31, 2020."
CleanEnergyAuthority.com quotes Brown as exhorting the legislature to do even better than the 33%: "While reaching a 33 percent renewables portfolio standard will be an important milestone, it is really just a starting point-a floor, not a ceiling. With the amount of renewable resources coming on-line, and prices dropping, I think 40 percent, at reasonable cost, is well within our grasp in the near future."
As the Los Angeles Times points out, the new law allows California to wear the mantle of leader in the US in an attempt to stabilize the market for renewable energy. According to the article, "The new law, known as a renewable portfolio standard, is the most aggressive of any state." The article also points out that renewable energy advocates have so far lost the battle at the federal level, because of "a divided and preoccupied Congress."