California Gov. Brown Signs 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation


California Gov. Brown Signs 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard Legislation As expected, Gov. Jerry Brown, D-Calif., has signed into law S.B.350, which requires California to generate 50% of its electricity from zero-carbon renewable sources within 15 years.

The legislation, the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015, is sponsored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and pushes California's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by Dec. 31, 2030, from the current 33% by 2020.

S.B.350 also requires the state to double energy efficiency in all buildings by 2030, as well as substantially build infrastructure for electric transportation.

Additionally, it contains a strong directive for California to continue promoting regional cooperation with neighboring states and utilities – providing customers access to broader regional energy markets that will help lower prices, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), which applauds the enactment of the bill.

"While the state's renewable portfolio standard has already benefited California households and businesses by diversifying the state's energy mix, S.B.350 is a giant step forward," states Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. "We fully support a more efficient energy market in the West. This would let California trade energy surpluses and deficits with its neighbors in a way that maximizes wind energy's low-cost benefits for California consumers."

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. says it appreciates the flexibility the new law provides on banking of excess renewable procurement, which will provide utility customers greater opportunities to secure the best renewable energy pricing available on the market.

According to the office of the governor, the legislation is also an important step in the state's landmark plan to cut climate-warming pollution.

"California has taken groundbreaking steps to increase the efficiency of our cars, buildings and appliances and provide ever more renewable energy," Brown said at the bill's signing. "With S.B.350, we deepen our commitment."

The enactment of the legislation comes as international leaders prepare to negotiate a global agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions in Paris this December, notes de Leon.

"Today, California is laying the groundwork for a healthier and more sustainable future for all of our families,’ he says. "With S.B.350, we are making clean power sources like wind and solar mainstream – democratizing the benefits to our economy and environment."

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