Gov. Brown signs law requiring 33% of energy be renewable by 2020

By Patrick McGreevy  |  Los Angeles Times  |  Link to article

The California law increases a previous mandate of 20% renewable energy. U.S. energy secretary calls the law a model for other states, and an industry group says it could create 100,000 jobs.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed into law a requirement that California get 33% of its electricity from renewable sources, such as wind and solar energy, by the year 2020.

Calling the law the most ambitious clean-energy effort in the nation, the governor predicted that it would help jump-start the state’s economy. He said he expects the aggressive shift away from coal and natural gas to create jobs while putting the state on the cutting edge of new technology.

“It’s about California leading the country. It’s America potentially leading the world,” Brown said at a signing ceremony in Silicon Valley.

The governor spoke at a recently opened SunPower/Flextronics manufacturing plant, a cavernous factory where more than 100 employees make solar panels.

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who attended the ceremony, said he sees the measure as a model for other states. He also announced a tentative commitment of $1.2 billion in loan guarantees for a solar energy project in San Luis Obispo County that he said would generate enough power for nearly 60,000 homes.

The legislation will make it easier for renewable-energy companies to attract investors for green energy firms, said SunPower Chief Executive Thomas Werner. The measure “gives us long-term market visibility,” he said.

Bernadette Del Chiaro, a representative of the lobbying group Environment California, called the law a “huge victory” for the environment.

“California can power itself entirely on clean energy resources like wind, geothermal and solar power,” she said.

Brown’s signature raises the former renewable-energy mandate of 20%. Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), author of the legislation, said the 33% benchmark would reduce air pollution and U.S. dependence on unstable foreign sources of oil, while creating more than 100,000 jobs. That number is based on research by the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies, a trade group representing renewable energy companies, according to Simitian’s staff. (full article)