Governor and Legislature insist, cost notwithstanding

Gov. Jerry Brown has placed California firmly on the path to “clean energy.” On Sept. 10, he signed Senate Bill 100, to be known as “The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018.”

Senator Kevin de León, president pro tempore of the California State Senate, introduced the bill, which the Senate passed 25-13 and the Assembly approved 44-33.

The bill increases the requirement for the amount of clean or renewable energy as the source of electrical power sold in California from 50 to 60 percent in 2030. The law then sets the level at 100 percent by Dec. 31, 2045.

In his signing message, Brown said, “SB 100 sends a clear signal to markets to expand clean energy generation. The next step is to integrate these goals into our existing clean energy efforts.”

“California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change,” Brown wrote. “This bill, and others I will sign this week, helps us go in that direction. But I have no illusions, California and the rest of the world have miles to go before we achieve zero-carbon emissions.”

The electricity sector is about 16 percent of carbon emissions in California, Brown acknowledged. While the bill moves California forward, it alone will not eliminate carbon emissions. Further, a section of SB 100 prohibits purchasing electricity elsewhere within the western gird in order to shift emissions to other states.

Also, the governor issued an executive order directing the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 and net negative greenhouse gas emissions after that. This will ensure California removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits — the first step to reversing the potentially disastrous impacts of climate change.

Last week, the governor signed eight more bills aimed at reducing carbon emissions with the state. Among these are Assembly bills 193 and 2127 and Senate Bill 1000.

These bills all advance the expansion of zero-emission vehicles on state roads. AB 2127 requires the state Electric Commission to assess annually what is needed to achieve the goal of five million ZEVs by 2020. SB 1000 has the state Public Utilities Commission assess how charging stations are distributed and make efforts to ensure the stations are proportional to use.

AB 193 provides a rebate for the purchase of a replacement battery or fuel-cell component for a used ZEV for qualified consumers.

“Whether we travel by car, bus or boat, the need to move to zero-emission transportation is urgent. These bills will help get more clean cars on the road and reduce harmful emissions,” said Brown.

Many of those who opposed SB 100 cited the need to prevent increased costs to ratepayers from the procurement goals of this bill. Also, some of the opposition raised concerns that the changing electricity landscape merits a need to pause on new procurement requirements, according to the Senate Bill Analysis.