Bioenergy, Wind Power

California’s Davis Supports Increased Use of RE

Governor Gray Davis announced this week his support for legislation that would nearly double the amount of electricity produced from Renewable Energy sources in California in eight years at the solar-powered Potrero Hill Neighborhood House in San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, California 2002-03-21 [] SB 532, the “Renewables Portfolio Standard Program,” introduced by Senator Byron Sher (D – Palo Alto) will require the state’s three investor-owned utilities to increase their renewable profile to 20 percent by 2010. Energy from the wind, sun, geothermal sources, biomass, and water currently provides about 12 percent of the state’s electricity supply — more than any other state. “California has long been the nation’s leader in Renewable Energy,” Davis said. “This legislation will continue that tradition of ensuring that renewables are a critical part of our energy future.” If the bill becomes law, California would have the most aggressive effort to increase the use of alternative energy of any state in the nation. Last year Davis endorsed the California Energy Commission’s Renewable Investment Plan and its goal of increasing the state’s renewable electricity consumption from 12 percent to 17 percent by 2006. To help promote Renewable Energy use, the California Energy Commission (CEC) administers a US$135 million annual “Renewable Energy Program” that provides up to a 1.5 cent per kilowatt-hour production incentive. To date, this program has kept 4,400 MW of existing Renewable Energy online, and provided incentives for the development of an additional 1,300 MW. In addition, the program provides substantial cash rebates to investor-owned utility customers that choose to install small solar PV and wind energy systems. In addition, the California Power Authority, working in concert with the private sector, has the financing ability to make the requirement of reaching 20 percent Renewable Energy by 2010 a reality. The CPA has signed letters of intent with renewable developers for approximately 2,500 MW and is performing due diligence on those projects. The CPA portfolio costs significantly less than what Californians currently pay for generation in their retail rates. -A net $11 billion economic development benefit for California over five years compared to a “business-as-usual” electricity portfolio due to job creation and in-State spending; -Retiring old natural-gas fired plants that are particularly dirty; -Reduced pollution compared to conventional “fossil-fired” power plants; -Reduced electricity market volatility by lessening California’s dependence on natural gas; -Improved energy security by lessening California’s dependence upon imported fuels -Lessening California’s contribution to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sources of Renewable Energy include wind, solar, biomass (agricultural and forest waste), geothermal, landfill gas, and digester gas (gas from decomposed organic material). Examples of some of the largest renewable facilities in the state include the Altamont Pass wind farms, geothermal facilities in the Imperial Valley, and agricultural waste conversion in the Central Valley (biomass). The Potrero Hill Neighborhood House uses approximately 35 percent Renewable Energy for its electricity use and the daycare facility (the Head Start Building) on site uses 100 percent Renewable Energy.