Lawmakers in the California state legislature granted their final approval to a package of energy legislation. The bill, AB 327, will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk. It passed the state Senate September 9 with a vote of 33-5 after passing the Assembly in May by wide margins.
bill's centerpiece would essentially remove the "cap" from California's
renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), which is already one of the
most aggressive in the nation.
California state law requires
power companies to generate 33 percent of their electricity from
renewable sources. AB 327, once signed into law, will empower the
California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to raise that percentage
without the need for legislative action.
"This is a banner day
in California. Once again, state lawmakers have set the bar high when
it comes to the adoption of renewable energy. AB 327 provides a clear
pathway for the continued growth of solar generation in California,
which ranks No. 1 in the nation in total installed solar capacity with
3,761 MW," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy
Industries Association (SEIA).
The bill allows for
adjustments to the state's net metering program, which lets customers
who generate their own electricity via rooftop solar to be compensated
for energy that flows back onto the grid from such distributed
The bill would allow the CPUC to redesign
utility billing rates, potentially cutting monthly bills for end users
living in the hotter interior parts of California. Large investor-owned
utilities, such as Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern
California Edison (SCE) would collectively bargain among themselves for
sought-after billing changes.
The assembly also passed SB 4, a
law that would require energy companies to publicly disclose the
chemicals used in hydraulic fracking, as well as require permits for
fracking as well as acidizing — techniques used to extract oil from
shale rock deposits like California's Montgomery Shale reserves.
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