Friday, April 15, 2011

Just Plain Good News

I had planned to comment on this news earlier in the week, but things got a little complicated. It still is good news, however, and not just for Californians. The rest of the nation can learn from our mandate just how to wean ourselves from carbon based fuels, especially those fuels we have to import.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Tuesday a mandate that 33% of electricity in California must come from renewable sources by 2020. ...

California had previously required investor-owned utilities such as Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric to generate 20% of their electricity from clean sources by 2010, with a three-year grace period.

The law signed Tuesday will also apply to municipal utilities such as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which manage about a quarter of the state’s electricity load.

Energy activists hope the mandate will lead to even more ambitious requirements.
“California can power itself entirely on clean energy resources,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “Mandating that the state generate a third of its electricity from renewable energy is a big down payment toward that ultimate goal.”

In many respects California is unique in its ability to take advantage of solar, wind, and wave energy because of its geography and weather. Still, the strong commitment to bringing renewable energy into major play is significant. The voters expect no less, as evidenced by the defeat of the Koch brothers proposition to roll back clean air legislation in the last election.

The really exciting part, however, is that the new law also contains provisions for local initiatives:

The new mandate also requires utilities to draw some of their power from small local projects based near customers –- known as distributed generation. Often situated on rooftops and parking lots, such installations don’t require the long transmission lines necessary for sprawling wind and solar plants in the deserts and mountains.

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry said she will introduce legislation this week to launch a pilot program that would put 75 megawatts of solar on rooftops around the city.

What's not to love about that?

Good news, indeed.

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