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In California, Prop 23 Threatens State’s Renewable Energy Standard

The Los Angeles Times reported today that a California agency is set to approve renewable energy standard that is significantly more stringent than the one being discussed at the congressional level. California’s RES would require that 33 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2020.

That’s a gigantic number when compared to the RES bill unveiled by Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kans.) this week. The bill would require that 15 percent of the country’s power come from renewables by 2021. Luckily though, the proposal demurs to state RES programs that are more stringent than the federal standard, so California’s mandate, if passed, would stand.

But there is trouble brewing for California’s RES. If passed in November, Proposition 23, a ballot initiative that would overturn the state’s landmark climate change bill, would, in turn, negate the California Air Resources Board’s authority to implement the renewable energy mandate.

Of course, this could have all been avoided if state lawmakers had passed a bill this month that would have cemented the 33 percent RES into law. But, in a preview of what may be coming down the road in Congress, stakeholders couldn’t agree on the details of the proposal.

According to the Times:

State lawmakers this month missed the deadline to pass SB 722 — widely considered the most important environmental bill of the year — which would have made the 33 percent requirement a state law. But a sprawling coalition of environmentalists, utilities and clean-tech companies bickered over a slew of amendments and prevented the bill from meeting a Sept. 1 midnight deadline.

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