Let's face it - being 'green' is the new cool. But sometimes an ulterior, industry-driven motive lurks behind the 'green halo' that we trust in so-called environmental organizations. This blog is dedicated to keeping individuals and organizations who claim to be for clean, renewable energy accountable.

Monday, August 25, 2008

LA Times: "Utilities should push for AB 411 if they want weaker renewable standards in CA"

Well, this is interesting. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times decries the Legislature for its inability to act on AB 411, the bill that would increase the current RPS requirement to 33% by 2020, pointing out that even current law (AB 32) doesn’t bring CA to an acceptable goal for cutting greenhouse gases.

It would be all but impossible for the state to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2020 without the 33% standard. Yet despite the importance of the issue and its powerful backing, it apparently falls so low on the priority list for Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) that she has allowed the bill, SB 411, to gather dust in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it will almost certainly die unless there is immediate action.

But what’s more interesting to me is the comment about the utilities’ reaction to AB 411 and Prop. 7:

Just as mystifying as the lack of urgency on the part of Bass and other Assembly leaders is the reaction of the state's utilities, many of which oppose SB 411 because they don't like some of its rules or think it would benefit their competitors. But if they don't like the bill, they positively loathe Proposition 7. The initiative on the November ballot requires that the state get 50% of its power from renewable sources by 2025, a goal the utilities claim would be devastatingly expensive to meet. Yet polls show that Proposition 7 enjoys strong support among voters, and that support will only grow stronger if state lawmakers prove unwilling or unable to act; the smartest move by the utilities would be to lobby hard for SB 411.

Apparently, if the Big Utilities want to keep the RPS requirements weaker, they should support AB 411. One of the talking points you here over and over again from the Big Utilities and the select environmental groups that oppose Prop 7 is that CA already has the most aggressive Renewable Portfolio Standard in the country, and thus Prop 7 isn’t necessary. It will be interesting to see if the Big Utility lobbyists do start quietly shifting their support to AB 411. If anyone happens to work in the legislature, please let us know if you see PG&E or Sempra (or other Big Utility) haunting to halls in support of AB 411. It will be interesting to see how the unveils.

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