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Legislature Passes Bill Requiring 33% Renewable Energy by 2020

 Legislation mandating that California increase the amount of power it provides from renewable resources from the current 20 to 33 percent by 2020 won final approval from the Legislature today and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign it into law.  The Assembly approved Senate Bill 2x 1 by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-San Jose, on a 55-19 vote.  It had previously passed the Senate, 26-11.

The bill is similar to measures backed by the Building Trades the past two years.  In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill, saying he opposed mandates that the alternative energy be generated in California.  Last year, discussions over that language continued, but the bill failed to reach the Governor’s desk.

The Building Trades has strongly urged language to ensure that many of the new construction jobs resulting from the higher renewable portfolio requirement be available to California construction workers.  This year’s bill contains language that establishes a renewable procurement “loading order,” mandating the minimum and maximum quantities of certain products, that is intended to further that aim.

This measure provides multiple benefits for Californians: thousands of megawatts of new renewable energy, the cleaner and healthier environment that will result, and billions of dollars worth of construction projects for tens of thousands of California workers.

A diverse coalition supported the bill, including environmentalists, community organizations, civil rights organizations, renewable energy producers, and organized labor.  SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth, legislative advocates Cesar Diaz and Jeremy Smith, environmental attorney Marc Joseph, and labor advocate Scott Wetch all played key roles in moving the bill forward.