Along with Simitian, the governor came to the SunPower/Flextronics plant in Milpitas for the ceremony, as did Energy Secretary Steven Chu, underlining the importance of the bill which, Simitian said, "... establishes California as the national leader in the use and development of renewable energy."
The bill also has a wide range of support from all sides of the energy industry, including consumer and environmental groups, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, as well as many of the state's municipal utilities.
The senator began his persistent effort to establish the 33 percent standard four years ago, and in 2009 his Senate Bill 14 passed both houses but was vetoed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over what energy contracts would qualify to meet the goal. Last year Simitian's Senate Bill 722 addressed those concerns but it did not pass the Legislature in time.
The current law, also authored by Simitian and passed in 2006, applies only to investor-owned utilities and independent sellers. It set a 2010 deadline for 20 percent use of renewables, a goal utilities expect to exceed this year. It will remain in force until 2020, when SB2X takes effect.
In a press release announcing the signing of the bill, Simitian said the measure will bring in investment dollars, tax revenue and jobs; improve air quality; address climate change; protect rate-payers from price spikes like the one in 2001 by diversifying the state's sources of energy; and allow the country to base its foreign policy on American interests rather than energy needs.
The timing of the legislation is particularly apt, as the price of petroleum continues an unabated upward spiral, while entrepreneurs in the Valley and elsewhere rush to bring the cost of renewable energy down.
Simitian's hard work and persistence on this legislation deserves recognition throughout the state, but particularly here in his district, where the vast majority of citizens are committed to addressing global climate change and many companies are innovating in the field of green technology.