California lawmakers passed legislation Friday that would bolster the state’s already-ambitious renewable energy goals – a potential victory for clean energy proponents in California and nationwide. However, the bill hangs in the balance, awaiting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s decision about whether or not to veto it.
According to the International Business Times, Senate Bill 14 and Assembly Bill 64 would require California’s utility companies to obtain 33 percent of their electricity from alternative energy sources (including solar and wind power) by 2020. This requirement would replace the current one: sourcing 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The bill would also limit the amount of power purchased from out-of-state renewable energy providers.
Legislators also passed a separate bill (Senate Bill 32), which would expand California’s feed-in tariff for solar projects. This bill would increase the size of eligible projects from 1.5 megawatts to 3 megawatts.
Proponents of the legislation believe it would benefit California’s employment rate (by helping maintain in-state renewable energy jobs), emissions rates (32 percent of California’s gross CO2 emissions come from electricity generation), and economy (California – with the eighth-largest economy in the nation – is a sizable market for renewable energy).
“This legislation puts California back in the lead for using clean, green electricity,” said Laura Wisland, an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in a press release. “If these bills become law, California will generate enough renewable energy to power every home in California.”
Schwarzennegger has 30 days to act on both pieces of legislation.