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Political Landscape:

Bills move forward ahead of deadline

June 06, 2009

Today was the deadline for myriad bills introduced on the Legislature floor with hopes of eventually becoming law. Those introduced to the Senate had to make it to the Assembly and vice versa for the second round of consideration before possibly advancing to the governor’s office for a signature. Below is summary of some of the locally produced bills that did and didn’t make it to the next round.

RENEWABLE ENERGY

The state Assembly approved two bills aimed at promoting renewable energy that were authored by local lawmakers.

One would mandate new targets for green power production, the other would encourage the development of biofuels from garbage. The bills, one by Democratic Assemblyman Paul Krekorian and another by Republican Assemblyman Anthony Adams, now move to the state Senate for consideration.

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Krekorian’s legislation, Assembly Bill 64, would require all power utilities in California to produce a third of their energy from renewable sources by the end of 2020.

While similar targets have been suggested in the past, Krekorian’s plan got traction with local utilities because it would create a new state committee that would to make it easier for power companies to build new plants and transmission lines.

If the bill is approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Energy Planning and Infrastructure Coordinating Committee would be created and help energy companies develop new plants and transmission lines to more easily meet the new targets.

Utilities have often been faced with a complex web of opposition from cities and environmental groups when attempting to plan for new renewable energy power facilities and transmission lines, managers say.

That struggle to gain approval to build and develop important components for green energy production within California has discouraged some projects and pushed utilities to purchase power or locate plants in other states.

Krekorian and local utility managers hoped that the legislation would not only set high goals for the power companies, but also make them reachable.

“California needs to be the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy,” Krekorian said in a statement, adding that the bill would stimulate job growth and badly needed economic development.

The bill, which will also require energy companies to generate a quarter of their power from renewable sources by 2015, was approved along a strict 45-27, party-line vote.

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