The California State Senate took control of its energy future on May 31, passing SB 100, the California Clean Energy Act of 2017, and two other renewable energy bills to transition the state to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The bills are now under consideration in the State Assembly.
SB 100, which passed on a vote of 25 to 13, and would expedite the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), requiring the state to source 50 percent of its power from renewables by 2026. Previously it was set to reach that level by 2030. The bill also would require the state to move to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. If passed by the State Assembly and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown (D), the bill will make California and Hawaii the only states in the US aiming for 100 percent renewable energy.
“When it comes to our clean air and climate change, we are not backing down,” said Senate Leader Kevin de León (D)-Los Angeles, and bill sponsor. “Today, we passed the most ambitious target in the world to expand clean energy and put Californians to work. Now more than ever, it is critical that we double down on climate leadership as we learn that the President intends to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Regardless of what Washington does, California will show the way forward. We are sending a clear message to the rest of the world that no president, no matter how desperately the try to ignore reality, can halt our progress.”
SB 71 and SB 700, both sponsored by San Francisco Sen. Scott Wiener (D), complement SB 100 by allowing more solar access to California residents and builds on the existing renewable energy requirements. SB 71, similar to mandates in Santa Monica and San Francisco, will authorize the California Energy Commission to require the installation of rooftop solar or solar thermal systems on all new buildings during construction. Currently, California law requires 15 percent of new residential and commercial roof space to be “solar ready” on all buildings up to 10 stories tall.
Primarily funded by the state’s existing Self-Generation Incentive, SB 700, otherwise known as the Energy Storage Initiative, will provide rebates to solar customers who install energy storage systems. Additionally, the bill is designed to set aside 30 percent of the program’s total funding to provide rebates to low-income communities. The bill also will establish renewable industry job training and workforce development programs.
“Transitioning to a 100 percent carbon-free future in an economy the size of California requires persistence, commitment, and vision. The California Solar Energy industries Association (CALSEIA) stands at the ready in creating the local jobs, carbon-free electricity, and grid reliability that comes with this cleaner future,” said Executive Director for CALSEIA, Bernadette Del Chiaro.
Jobs in the renewable energy industry in California already outnumber all the coal-mining jobs in the entire US. The renewable energy sector employed approximately 500,000 workers in California, with the solar industry employing over 100,000 workers alone, at the end of 2016, according to the Advanced Energy Economy Institute.Tweet