By Patrick McGreevy | Los Angeles Times | Link to article
The mandate, now headed for governor’s desk, would require utilities to increase renewable energy sources to 33% by 2020.
A mandate that California utilities increase their use of renewable energy sailed through the state Assembly on Tuesday and is headed for the governor’s desk.
Environmental groups say the legislation is the most ambitious of its kind in the country. It would require the state’s electricity companies to provide 33% of power from renewable resources by the year 2020. State law now sets a 20% goal.
Supporters made their case by invoking the nuclear plant problems in Japan and conflict in the oil-rich Middle East, as well as the struggling California economy: Environmentalists have said the mandate could create 100,000 jobs.
The bill aims to lessen dependence on coal and natural gas in favor of wind, solar and geothermal energy. It would also protect ratepayers from large new costs, and “provides flexibility to utilities,” argued Assemblyman Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata).
Safeguards in the bill include a cap on the cost to utilities of meeting the 33% goal and a provision to delay the mandate if sufficient clean power is unavailable, Chesbro said.