Adopted 33% renewable standard in California

California’s regulatory authorities approved the new Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS), thus establishing that by 2020, 33% of final electricity needs must be met using renewables.

The previous RPS, issued in November 2008, envisaged a 33% share by 2030, the new target having been proposed by governor Arnold Schwarzenegger exactly one year ago.

The new regulation is the second commitment in the whole of the USA (Maine’a RPS requires 40% by 2017) and it confirms California’s dedication to clean energy, increasing the number of projects launched by California aiming at creating a low-carbon economy.

Specifically, the regulation prescribes that all electricity distributors, included small local public companies, must adopt the new standard.

The final target (33% by 2020) must be achieved by means of intermediate targets, prescribing a 20% share by 2014, 24% by 2017 and 28% by 2019.

The forecasted emission reduction that will be achieved by adopting this regulation is estimated in 12 million tonnes per year. It will be one of the most significant contributions among the various actions that California has envisaged in order to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels, as prescribed by the law that this State issued regarding greenhouse gas emission reduction.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger applauded the California Air Resources Board for adopting the Renewable Energy Standard regulation requiring that one-third of electricity sold in California comes from clean, renewable sources by 2020:

“I applaud the Air Resources Board for adopting regulations to increase California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 33 percent. This action further establishes the Golden State’s legacy as a worldwide environmental and economic leader.

“We are already seeing increased investment in renewable energy projects in California. There are currently over 200 renewable energy projects looking to build and do business here. In the last month alone, the California Energy Commission has approved four large-scale renewable energy facilities that will provide enough clean energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes while creating thousands of jobs. There is a multi-trillion dollar global market for clean energy, and I look forward to seeing even more investment and job creation happen throughout our state with today’s commitment.

“While my Administration will not slow down as we move forward with a more diverse energy portfolio to drive economic growth and provide greater security and stability for ratepayers, I remain open to continuing to work with the legislature on putting this standard in statute. With this long-term energy policy, California will continue to lead the transition to a clean-energy future and away from being so dependent on the volatile prices and harmful emissions of dirty oil and coal.”

Governor Schwarzenegger has a strong and proven commitment to expanding California’s clean energy that will create jobs, influence national policies and provide a cleaner environment for future generations. In 2009, the Governor signed an Executive Order directing the California Air Resources Board to adopt regulations increasing the state’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 33 percent by 2020. The Board’s regulations place the highest priority on renewable resources that will provide the greatest environmental benefits that can be developed quickly and support reliable, efficient and cost-effective electricity system operations including resources and facilities located in California and throughout the Western Interconnection. Other actions to promote clean, renewable energy in California include:

* Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32): Signed by the Governor in 2006, AB 32 established a first-in-the-world comprehensive program of regulatory and market mechanisms to achieve real, quantifiable, cost-effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions. The law will reduce carbon emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2020.
* Increased Collaboration with Federal Government and State Agencies to Speed Up Renewable Energy Facility Development: In October of 2009, the Governor and Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar signed a historic MOU so that the state and federal government could work together to ensure timely permitting of renewable energy projects. Earlier this year, the Governor signed into law a new program to make it easier to conserve land for endangered species and for developers to build renewable energy projects in California. The program, created by SB X8 34, by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), will help further streamline and expedite the permitting and siting process for large-scale renewable energy projects that will provide jobs and greater energy independence and attract investment.
* Green Tech Sales Tax Exemption: Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 71 by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) in 2010 exempting all clean technology manufacturing equipment from sales tax, allowing California to maintain a competitive edge by expanding the range of projects. This targeted sales tax exemption does not cost the state tax dollars and increases revenue by expanding the number of clean technology manufacturing companies with sites in California.
* Million Solar Roofs Initiative: The Governor’s $2.9 billion incentive plan for home and building owners who install solar electric systems, now known as the California Solar Initiative, will lead to one million solar roofs in California by the year 2018, provide 3,000 megawatts of clean energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million tons.