Sunday, September 13, 2009
The Politics of Energy #21 - Schwarzenegger to veto renewable energy bills
SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said Saturday that he would veto legislation requiring a third of California's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, choosing instead to mandate the change through an executive order.
The Democratic bills that passed the state Legislature just before the end of the legislative session Friday would have set up the most aggressive renewable energy standards in the nation.
But they also sought to limit the amount of energy from sources such as wind, solar and geothermal that could come from out-of-state. Schwarzenegger and some energy producers said the legislation would set up too many regulatory hurdles.
"The poorly drafted, overly complex bills passed by the Legislature are protectionist schemes that will kill the solar industry in California and drive prices up like the failed energy deregulation of the late 1990s," Schwarzenegger's communications director, Matt David, said in a statement Saturday.
The governor's office didn't immediately explain how Schwarzenegger would implement the goals of the legislation through the executive order.
The Independent Energy Producers, which represents companies that provide 80 percent of California's renewable energy, opposed the legislation, despite having sought a higher standard.
Jan Smutny-Jones, the association's executive director, said some of the language in the bills would have limited the placement of solar plants in some areas of the state, threatening projects that are already underway and others that are expecting to get funding through the federal stimulus package.
Consumer advocates and environmental groups sought the limits on out-of-state power because they wanted the bulk of California's renewable energy to be generated within the state. They said it would help promote job growth.
The legislation would have allowed utilities to import renewable energy generated outside California as long as the power came from a plant that connects to California's electricity grid.
Utilities also could buy a limited number of credits from out-of-state producers of alternative energy as a way to promote the development of clean power, even though that power would not reach California markets.
Republicans said the restrictions could drive up energy costs.
Posted by Richard Wottrich at 4:35 AM