Governor Brown Confirms Commitment to Making California a Leader in Clean Energy

by Araceli Ruano and Rebecca Friendly

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed three clean energy bills into law.  Governor Brown should be commended for following through with this commitment and leadership on this important policy area. The three renewable energy bills signed by the Governor serve to bolster California’s stated commitment to clean energy, to create jobs, lower electric bills and improve air quality.

Last month at the National Clean Energy Summit (NCES) hosted by CAP and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the Governor discussed how California has been consistently committed to clean energy as exemplified by former Governor Schwarzenegger’s efforts and California’s status in the early 80’s as the world leader in wind generated electricity. Governor Brown continued by asserting California’s current commitment to regaining its leadership in renewable energy by investing in its key resources, wind, solar and efficiency.

Let’s look at the three bills.

The first piece of legislation, Senate Bill 585, authored by Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) is a restoration and extension of the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which originated with Governor Schwarzenegger and took effect in 2007. The bill authorizes California to increase the total cost limit of the CSI from 3.4 billion to 3.6 billion. CSI is a solar rebate program for consumers in California that are customers of investor-owned utilities. This program funds solar technologies for existing homes and existing or new commercial, agricultural, government and non-profit buildings. School districts, public agencies and non-profits in California have often relied on the rebates offered under CSI to finance and carry out solar projects. In fact, CSI has been successful in facilitating the generation of almost 900 MW of solar energy. It allows for enormous cost saving benefits, reductions in pollution and the conservation of water typically used for cooling gas fired power plants.

The second piece of legislation, Assembly Bill 1150, authored by Assemblymember Victor Manuel Perez (D-Coachella) gives the California Public Utilities Commission the authority to collect funds for the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) through December 2014. The SGIP provides rebates for qualifying distributed energy systems installed on the customer’s side of the utility meter.  These qualifying technologies include wind turbines, fuel cells, and their corresponding energy storage systems. This incentive program makes approximately $83 million in rebates available each year for the installation of clean energy.

The final bill signed by Governor Brown, Senate Bill 16 by Sen. Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield), requires the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to expedite permits for renewable energy projects. This bill works to streamline the notoriously slow permitting process for large-scale renewable projects while balancing the need for responsible project reviews of wildlife impact.

With these three pieces of legislation California will be better positioned to meet its stated goal and regulation of raising California’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard to 33 percent by the year 2020. At this point, California is about halfway to this goal. There is a long road ahead, but thanks to Governor Brown California is on the right track towards a sustainable future.

Araceli Ruano is Senior Vice President and Director of Center for American Progress-California and Rebecca Friendly is a Special Assistant at the Center for American Progress.

9 Responses to Governor Brown Confirms Commitment to Making California a Leader in Clean Energy

  1. Raul M. says:

    She is a fine cook and if she can have a new cozy for her soup pan she may make a fine soup and the kitchen would stay cool… A new cozzy for the soup pan could just slide on and be some of that fancy silicone.
    I don’t know how you think she ever made it that far in life without thinking of her and her others’ safety. Sure she could put a cozy onto her soup pan to help keep her kitchen cool and the soup warm if she could just have one to use.

  2. Paul Magnus says:

    Heres Vermont Gov who is not mincing words on GW….

    Vermont Gov. On Climate Change: Our Kids Mean More To Us Than Our Greed

  3. Paul Magnus says:

    Jane Goodall: ‘The World Is In A Horrible Mess … We Need To Change Our Greed’

  4. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    If Govenor Brown actually hopes to regain Californian leadership in renewables production and deployment by means of solar and wind, then he’s lost the acumen that he’s shown for the last four decades.

    Padlocking the stable door by focussing on these two technologies seems barmy given Chinese commitments to dominating them in global markets.

    The report of these three bills makes no mention of the emerging baseload renewables,

    – as if the authories were unaware of California’s very significant geothermal resources,
    – as if they’d never heard of the excellent forestry growth rates in the wetter northern end of the state,
    – and as if they’d never noticed the Pacific Ocean with its powerful waves rolling in right down the length of the state’s west coast.

    So where is the vital support for the innovative baseload technologies that are plainly vital to resolving fossil fuel dependence ? To what extent has it been deflected into fighting yesterday’s battles over intermittent technologies in whose leadership California has at best a remote chance of recovering ?



  5. Anna says:

    I’ve heard that although wave and tide are technologically feasible, the permitting process on the California coast is really complex and difficult. So I was actually happy to see the bill aimed at simplifying the regulatory process. This actually seems like an area in which we could make common cause with some on the right.

  6. John Tucker says:

    Removing the blocks to Rooftop solar was a good move. So are institutional instillations.

    Calf is a gas dependent state and
    fuel cell technology is kinda a question mark that I need to read on. I dont think its been doing all that well for reducing emissions.

    Claf decommissioned two nuclear reactors and put a moratorium on new construction in the 1970ś – a move responsible for creating a COLOSSAL amount of greenhouse gases, not only in lifetime savings abandoned but in stuttering barely used facilities.

    They shouldn’t be cut slack or thrown softballs for token reductions. They do have good conservation numbers – but their climate is for the most part mild. I wouldn’t pay any attention to reductions now as the recession probably cut upwards of 7-8 percent of emissions.

    Hopefully no one will use nameplate capacity to compute emission compliance in the future.

  7. John Tucker says:

    note – Hydrogen fuel cells can be nearly clean and somewhat renewable. I forgot about that.

    Also – this will be especially true in warmer climates (ie Texas)- solar power output drops around 25 percent in high temperatures. Ive seen nothing about the effects of high temperatures on non silicon technology.

  8. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    The Fish & Game Department that the third bill addresses lacks responsibility for the siting of offshore wave energy vessels. This technology is currently lead by Scotland, that has trials ongoing at home and in several foreign nations waters. The chief minister of the Scottish parliament, whose plan is to have Scotland 100% run on renewables by 2020, declared yesterday that commercial wave energy supply will come online in 2015.

    So where’s California ?



  9. Wes Rolley says:

    “Claf decommissioned two nuclear reactors and put a moratorium on new construction in the 1970ś – a move responsible for creating a COLOSSAL amount of greenhouse gases, not only in lifetime savings abandoned but in stuttering barely used facilities. ”

    It also save a lot of women from dying of breast cancer due to the under-regulated nature of the mining industry. But then, we all have read that regulation adds to the cost… so nuclear would have been even more expensive.

    Check the work on cancer among Navajo women from Dr. Stefanie Raymond-Whish at N. Ariz. Univ.