California passes ambitious renewable energy bill

April 21, 2011

On Tuesday, April 12, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 2X, which will require all electrical retailers to procure 33% of California’s electricity from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal by December 31, 2020.

Prior to Senate Bill 2X, California had a 20-percent renewable energy requirement for investor-owned utilities and independent sellers. As well, several municipal utilities had adopted voluntary, non-binding renewable energy targets. Senate Bill 2X now widens the scope of minimum renewable energy content to publicly owned utilities. All load-serving entities must meet a 20% target by the end of 2013, and a 25% target by the end of 2016, before reaching the 33% goal by the end of 2020.

The California Public Utilities Commission (“PUC”) will approve renewable energy contracts, and provide exemptions to utilities if the price of energy, or the difficulty of moving renewable energy into the state’s grid, makes the costs of compliance too excessive.

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