News

Simitian's green-energy bill becomes law

Palo Alto senator's bill requires state utilities to draw 33 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2020

A proposal by state Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) to require California utilities to draw one third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020 became state law Tuesday (April 12) when it received Gov. Jerry Brown's signature.

Simitian's bill, Senate Bill 2X, was signed into law in Milpitas, where Simitian, Brown and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu met to recognize the new SunPower solar-manufacturing plant, Simitian announced in a statement. The new law, he said, puts California in the "national forefront in its commitment to renewable energy."

"I'm gratified that the Governor has confirmed California's long-term commitment to clean green energy," Simitian said in the statement. "This bill establishes California as the national leader in the use and development of renewable energy.

"The new law will stimulate the economy and improve the environment, while protecting ratepayers from excessive costs."

The new law would apply to both public and investor-owned utilities. Before the bill was passed, investor-owned utilities such as PG&E and independent sellers were required to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020 -- a standard that Simitian helped establish in 2006. The new bill also authorizes the California Public Utility Commission to give exemptions to utilities if the cost of purchasing renewable energy or plugging it into the state grid proves too great.

Simitian's previous attempt to raise the renewable-energy standards failed despite receiving the support of both houses of the Legislature. A similar proposal was vetoed in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In signing the bill Tuesday, Brown said in a statement that it would "ensure that California maintains its long-standing leadership in renewables and clean energy." Simitian agreed and touted the support his bill received from consumer advocates and utilities, including Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.

"Fossil fuels are finite and demand for energy is growing," Simitian said in the statement. "Fossil fuel prices are going to keep heading up. Renewable prices are headed down."

Gennady Sheyner

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Great job, Senator Simitian! Renewable energy will both reduce pollution and reduce our dependence on expensive imported energy sources.


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

My $0.02 - There are no miracles, and all this does is raise everyone's rates. True leadership in energy policy would be to get out of govt and start up a company that makes renewable/clean energy cost-effective without govt sticks or carrots - anything else simply introduces volatility in energy pricing and future shocks when the 'market' reasserts its finite willingness to pay.


Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:05 pm

And the government should stop subsidizing oil prices by sending troops and weapons and foreign aid bribes to defend foreign oil fields. These massive subsidies simply introduce volatility in energy pricing and future shocks when the 'market' reasserts its finite willingness to pay.


Like this comment
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 12, 2011 at 5:21 pm

@taxpayer -

1. Iraq's oil production is down post-Saddam, and we're paying higher prices as a result.
2. Afghanistan doesn't have oil. Minerals perhaps, but not oil.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

We have all the oil we need for the next 100 years, all domestic. All we need to do is drill. A big part of renewable energy is biomass. Biomass is largely garbage. If Simitian really wants to do it, let him legislate 100% renewables within 5 years. That will give all the millionaires time to move to Nevada.
The rest of us, with 5 to 10 dollar gas, will stay close to home and wonder just why we voted this poverty down around our ears.


Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm

"Biomass is largely garbage"

That is a true statement, in the context of domestic supplies of recyclable energy. The important question is, how do we go about exploiting that garbage energy? It clearly is not anaerobic diegestion, which simply does not address the existing pile. On the other hand, plasma arc addresses most of the issues.


Like this comment
Posted by taxpayer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

How is this NOT a form of taxation? To subsidize "green energy"?


Like this comment
Posted by Robbie
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

This is not a subsidy program. It requires the use of green energy but doesn't provide money for it.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:35 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Of course it supplies money for it - money in the form of overcharging utility customers to make up the difference.


Like this comment
Posted by Afghanistan-Has-Oil
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:58 am

> Afghanistan doesn't have oil ..

Really?

Afghanistan's New Oil Discovery Could Increase Its Reserves By Tenfold:
Web Link

A little "googlin'" goes a long way towards helping tell the truth.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 11:51 am

Horrible job, State senator Simitian! Your premature law will increase our rates dramatically and do very little to reduce our dependence on expensive imported energy sources.

It is a great idea...but it is feasibly premature. In a time in which our economy has grown progressively worse since late 2007, residents of California cannot afford such a hefty increase.

This is yet another "good idea" that is being drained from families that cannot afford it right now. What a way to scare production jobs AWAY FROM California.

But hey -- tech companies like Apple, HP, etc... can always rely on SLAVE LABOR and INDENTURED SERVITUDE in developing communist nations (like China) to produce our goods (and steal our ideas) in our never-ending attempt to stay technologically up-to-date.


Like this comment
Posted by Response to Nayeli
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Simitian's measure will help the economy recover by promoting green energy. It will produce jobs to design, build, and install the renewable energy projects. Renewable energy is likely to be more stable in energy prices over the long run than fossil fuel-based energy.

If we were the burn Walter Wallis' 100 years of fossil fuels, thousands of Palo Alto homes would be under water, as the BCDC data shows. If your house is in a floodzone from tidal flooding now, it will be underwater midcentury.


Like this comment
Posted by Joel
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Joel is a registered user.


To "Taxpayer"
But it is alright to subsidize oil and gas drilling and exportation?
Huh?

Thanks to Senator Simitian for bringing us into the future and caring for the our health and the earth.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:28 pm

@ "Response to Nayeli:"

You claim that this law will "create" jobs. I don't doubt that there will be some measure of green jobs created -- regardless of the law. It is certainly the future.

However, I have to ask how many California jobs will be SACRIFICED by prematurely exerting such a demand on residents. We are the families and businesses that will bear the cost of this law.

I completely dismiss the claims that the ocean will cover California cities by mid-century. This is just a theory...and one that is hotly contested outside of heavily funded environmentalist estimates. Besides, all of the green science in the world -- barring a return to a pre-19th century non-industrial economy -- will not prevent an increase in "damaging" gases. After all, the world is 600% larger than it was just two centuries ago. The gas that comes out of our mouths and food supply is all the greater.

BTW, would you mind paying the difference in my electric bill? We are already having a difficult time making ends meet in this horrid California economic climate as it is.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:29 pm

BTW, no one is saying that this move is unneeded. However, we question whether or not this is the right time to demand it...and force us all (including the poor and middle class) to pay for it.


Like this comment
Posted by hatecps
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I thought it was already an established fact that the green jobs are being done in China.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Nayeli, if you think that all of Simitian's laws will make a millimeter difference in water level I have a bridge to sell you.


Like this comment
Posted by sealcamp
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Congratulations, Joe. Ever the optimist that every little bit helps and if we had a few more like you who stick to their principles, we might get there one step at a time. It is so easy to criticize when you don't have to take the heat. I am proud of you and your long, hard, ever optimistic service to our local and State governments. You are a real public servant.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 13, 2011 at 3:49 pm

@ sealcamp:

Then maybe YOU can pay the difference in my electric bill henceforth? No one is saying that this wasn't a good idea IN THE LONG RUN. It is just cost prohibitive for so many people right now.


Like this comment
Posted by Robbie
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:14 pm

If we only address long-term solutions when it will not cause anyone any distress in the short term, we will never accomplish anything.


Like this comment
Posted by Carlito Waysman
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm


Green energy, is the snake oil of the new century. The ones blindly preaching its virtues are either idiots that don't know all the facts on how "green energy is produced" or they know everything about it but in their greedy effort to make a buck out of it overlook its limited capacity to really be a major player in the nation's energy supply, and exist without taxpayers subsidies.


Like this comment
Posted by OY!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:19 pm

So long to efforts to encourage business's to move their operations to California. Yea! to higher energy costs. Yea! for Joe Simitian. Yea! we're gonna save the Earth! Too bad other states and country's will have business's that would have supported Californians. Oh Well!


Like this comment
Posted by JoAnn
a resident of Ventura
on Apr 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

I'm tired of hearing how it isn't time to go to renewable energy. I've been hearing it for over 30 years. If we'd stuck with the movement in that direction by the Carter Administration, we'd be well down the road by now. It's way overdue to cut the subsidies to oil production and steer it to renewables.


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2011 at 6:54 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Yes, JoAnn, reality can be so tiresome when compared to the fantasy world.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

<rant>

Remember: It isn't just the spike that California families will see in our own energy bills. Businesses -- large and small -- will see a similar spike and will hand that cost down to the customers.

The cost of production will increase (thus risking the elimination of production jobs in California). The cost of goods and services will increase (thus risking competition for those items from California).

Sometimes, I think that people can be so "progressive" that they are willing to bypass several DECADES of natural economic development just so they can satisfy their conscience (according to what they are told) right now.

Unfortunately, the rest of us are left to pay for these sort of "good ideas." This bill affects Lower and Middle class California families more than anyone else. Since many of those Middle class California families that are barely squeaking by right now, this law shows just how out-of-touch that certain California ideologues have become with REAL residents.

I saw a young woman at the Safeway on Middlefield buying a loaf of cheap bread with spare change. She apologized to the clerk and said that it was still a couple of days before payday...but that they needed bread. If her electric bill was just a little higher, she wouldn't have any change left over. How will she pay for bread?

But who cares? I'm sure that one of our brilliant legislators will propose another entitlement program that will use ever-increasing tax dollars to assist those who can no longer buy bread without the assistance of an encroaching state government.

</rant>


Like this comment
Posted by My frustrated 2 cents
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 14, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I will just laugh and laugh and laugh at all the complaining about rising electricity prices as this goes into effect.

thanks, Simitian, for making it even harder to live here!!!!

The only good news is that we, my family, gets to suck some money out of the system ( thanks taxpayers!!) by working in this field until it collapses.

Even in communist nations, there are always those who learn the game and play it to survive.

I am ever more agreeing with drill, baby, drill...get energy independent in all areas HERE , cover all our bases, drill AND try renewable development. Stop spending tax dollars on Brazil oil,( yes, Obama sent 10 billion of our money to BRAZIL...wouldn't it have been great to build HERE, instead of putting 65,000 people out of work by unilaterally and unconstitutionally shutting down the drills we had going here?) promising to buy their oil..why not build our own drills and refineries, and employ our OWN people?

I get sick thinking about the total lack of thought into our energy independence. Sometimes I wonder if it is on purpose, to destroy us. I used to believe it was just ignorance ..but I am starting to wonder.

As for the silly comment on Iraqi oil...we get none of the Iraqi oil ( so much for "blood for oil".) We, meaning our companies, got none of the contracts.


Like this comment
Posted by My frustrated 2 cents
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I should have followed Nayeli's lead and put (angry sarcasm) above my rant above!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

@Joel, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Apr 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

My point was a procedural one. The taxes and subsidies you mention were (I suppose) approved with the appropriate procedures at the time.

California has relatively new stiff requirements for new taxes.

If unfunded mandates would be considered (philosphically, I don't think they're included legally) as a form of taxation, does it make sense to require the stiff requirements?


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:32 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

Makes you wonder what Simitian's next idea will be, doesn't it?


Like this comment
Posted by coooper
a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:29 am

We will all be forced to install monitors on our shower heads and will be fined if the temp goes over 90 degrees or the shower lasts longer than 5 minutes.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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