April 14, 2011 - California establishes 33% renewable energy standard

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

California established a 33% renewable energy standard this week when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 2X.  That bill creates a legislative mandate that California utilities and other electric service providers must source 33% of the electricity they sell to retail consumers from renewable resources.  The Governor's signing ceremony followed the bill's passage by each chamber of California's legislature with a majority vote - 26-11 in the Senate and 55-19 in the Assembly.

Electric vehicle charging station, Burlington, Vermont.

California's new 33% RPS law is not its first renewable electricity standard.  The California Legislature had previously enacted an RPS that required utilities to source 20% of their electricity from renewables. In fact, California has already had a 33% RPS.  After legislation increasing the renewable mandate failed to pass at the end of the last decade, in September 2009 Governor Schwarzenegger raised the RPS to 33% by executive order.

SB 2X also relieves some jurisdictional uncertainty over the RPS.  California's original legislative 20% RPS was administered by the California Public Utilities Commission, but Governor Schwarzenegger's  Executive Order gave the California Air Resources Board authority over the additional RPS mandate beyond 20%.  SB 2X restores the CPUC's authority over the RPS, giving it a mandate to develop rules implementing the shift.

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