By unanimous decision, the California Air Resources Board approved a new regulation to have 33 percent of California’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols said, “The Renewable Electricity Standard means cleaner energy for California’s households and businesses. This standard is going to further diversify and secure our energy supply while also growing California’s leading green technology market, which will lead to cost savings for consumers.” (Source: UPI)
Reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are expected to be about 12 to 13 million tons of CO2 per year by the year 2020. Smaller goals are set for points along the way leading to 33 percent. For 2012-2014 the goal is 20 percent, 2015-2017 is 24 percent, 2018-2019 is 28 percent.
Governor Schwarzenegger said, “With this long-term energy policy, California will continue to lead the transition to a clean-energy future and away from being so dependent on the volatile prices and harmful emissions of dirty oil and coal.” (Source: UPI)
The new regulation is not the same as the passing a new law, unfortunately. It is seen more as a spurring on of renewable energy activity both in terms of the number of projects, and the business created by them. A looming gubernatorial election and an anti-climate change ballot initiative make passing new legislation of dubious value. If elected, Meg Whitman has said she will place a one year moratorium on AB – 32 the law that has prompted the growth in renewable energy projects. She says it is a job killer.
Chairwoman Nichols said new renewable energy projects would create jobs, and observed, “I want to be clear that taking action today is consistent with and called for by the governor and our regulatory requirements under AB 32. We may move the ball forward in getting the legislature to act.” (Source: Sunpluggers.com)
Some energy companies in California will achieve the 18 percent threshold by the end of this year. This fact, was a factor in the decision by regulators to raise the bar from the previous target of twenty percent.
About 200 renewable energy projects are investigating the state as a home for their construction. California has one of the largest economies in the world, and it needs legislators who understand the relationship between policy-making and growing the green economy.
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