A bill introduced into the California Legislature by an Imperial County Assemblyman would require that all California utilities get 51% of their power from renewable sources by 2030.
The bill is now being considered by the Assembly’s Utilities and Commerce Committee. It was introduced in January, but is starting to gain a bit of momentum now. In addition to requiring the state be more than half renewably powered by 2030, AB 177 would also give energy efficiency, grid reliability, and the state’s greenhouse gas emissions a greater priority in energy planning.
If enacted in its current form, the bill would require utilities “to procure all available cost-effective energy efficiency, demand response, and renewable resources, so as to achieve renewable, reliability, and greenhouse gases emission reduction simultaneously, in the most cost-effective and affordable manner practicable.”
The bill would address a few long-standing inefficiencies in the state’s renewable energy planning process, which some observers say have made the state’s push toward renewable energy too cumbersome and expensive. Among other things, existing regulations have encouraged utilities to go for cheaper, short-term ways to meet immediate goals under the existing Renewable Portfolio Standard law, leading to an explosion of generating capacity relying on less-reliable resources such as wind power, rather then be backed up with natural gas plants, which emit greenhouse gases as they generate power.