Let California Residents Purchase Renewable Energy: CRS

Electricity consumers in California should be allowed to purchase green power, and state legislation should be amended to recognize that renewable energy is good.

SAN FRANCISCO, California, US, 2001-04-17 <SolarAccess.com> The California legislature passed AB1X in February, effectively preventing retail customers from choosing cleaner renewable sources of electricity generation, claims the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). Governor Gray Davis should pass new legislation to amend that bill and to reinstate electric choice for thousands of Californians who want cleaner electricity. “Renewable power is being held hostage by the electricity crisis, when it should be viewed as part of the solution to the crisis,” says Meredith Wingate of CRS’s Green-e Program. “Municipalities, government agencies, and green power aggregators want cleaner electricity options. Their purchasing power can bring new renewable generation into the state, ease supply constraints and reduce the impact of electricity generation on the environment.” The state government could address the issue through supplemental ‘clean up’ bills to AB1X that would allow green power choice for residential and large commercial or government customers. CRS also wants the State Department of Water Resources to increase the amount of renewable power in its portfolio. “A healthy portfolio of renewable power can increase the state’s resiliency against volatile fossil fuel markets and other unforeseeable circumstances, such as drought, that affect state wholesale markets,” Daniel Kirshner, the senior economic analyst at Environmental Defense. Prior to February, green power aggregators had made significant progress in selling green power in California. The non-profit Episcopal Power & Light encouraged several hundred churches in California to switch to renewable power. “Electric choice is an important tool in our mission to protect God’s creation,” says the Reverend Sally Bingham, a priest at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. “Now that the religious community is informed and aware of the destruction caused by dirty power plants, we want clean renewable energy.” The Green-e program certifies renewable electricity products to assure consumers that they are paying for green power. Last year, 125,000 residential and 8,000 commercial customers were served by a certified product in the state, from 1.4 million MWh of electricity load. The program was responsible for developing 36 MW of new renewable capacity, claims CRS. The Green-e program is administered by CRS.

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