California joins Texas in major backing for renewable energy

Good news from California, where the state legislature Tuesday passed a bill requiring utilities to obtain 33% of the electricity they supply from renewable energy sources (wind energy, solar power, geothermal energy, biomass) by 2020.

The new legislation is a further rebuke to dirty-energy backers, who lost badly in last November’s election in an effort to weaken the Golden State’s existing renewable electricity standard.

If Governor Jerry Brown signs the new bill, as he is expected to, California will join Texas, the nation’s leader in wind power, in the forefront of state efforts to tap America’s abundant renewable energy resources. (Texas, not to be outdone, is pushing forward with a major electric transmission expansion that will allow its already massive wind farm generation to nearly double in size over the next few years.)

That’s an impressive duo–the states with the two largest economies in the country, with a combined economic might more than twice the size of Russia or India, saying yes, renewable energy works, and yes, we want more of it. A reasonable guess is that the nation’s wind generation capacity could increase by more than 40%, or the equivalent of 4-5 new nuclear power plants, from these two initiatives alone.

By Tom Gray,