California governor pushes one-third renewable generation by 2020

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has issued an executive order directing state agencies to prepare for a requirement that the state’s utilities obtain a third of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020.

“All retail sellers of electricity shall serve 33 percent of their load with renewable energy by 2020,� the executive order, issued Nov. 17, said. �State government agencies are hereby directed to take all appropriate actions to implement this target in all regulatory proceedings, including siting, permitting, and procurement for renewable energy power plants and transmission lines.”

Although California’s Air Resources Board recommended the higher goal for the state’s renewables portfolio standard, the California Legislature still must pass legislation to that effect before it can be imposed. The executive order simply requires state agencies to begin preparing for the change.

California’s current renewables portfolio standard requires investor-owned utilities and electric service providers to generate 20 percent of their power from renewable energy by 2010.

On Nov. 4, California voters rejected Proposition 7, which would have expanded that requirement to include government-owned utilities. It also would have raised renewables requirements to 40 percent by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025. (HNN 11/6/08)

Schwarzenegger also ordered that renewables project regulation be streamlined, for instance allowing multiple applications required for a new plant to be filed at once, instead of sequentially.

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