As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

State Senate Passes Tougher Renewable Energy Standard

SB14, which would require utilities to receive 33% of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, passed the state Senate today. This would be a more stringent standard than the federal bill introduced today by Henry Waxman, which called for 25% from renewables by 2025. So this is a very aggressive standard that was championed by Darrell Steinberg.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said the bill, which now goes to the Assembly, would help pave the way to a more environmental friendly future.

"The green economy is the economy of the future," Steinberg said. "The environment and the economy go together."

Mod Squadder and corporate-friendly Sen. Rod Wright, along with Lou Correa, voted no. For Wright, who said he is "concerned that this bill is moving too fast," the vote is particularly inexcusable, as his district is witness to the ravages of greenhouse gas-emitted pollution. The final vote was 21 aye, 16 no. Tony Strickland, who pretended to be an environmentalist during his campaign, predictably took a walk on the vote. What a coward.

Capitol Weekly has more. This is a big win for Sen. Steinberg, and while the bill is certain to be amended (the "cap and trade" style appearance of "renewable energy credits" that utilities can pass to one another to get inside the 33% standard seems ripe for gaming the system), a strong claim on a very progressive priority gives us hope that progressives won't be stiffed for this entire session.

In a related development, Rep. Jerry McNerney introduced three very good energy bills at the federal level, including the Smart Grid Advancement Act, which would develop a smart electrical grid that could help reduce energy use during peak times, the Vehicles for the Future Act, which would build out the electrical infrastructure for plug-in hybrids and EVs, and the GREEN Act, which would provide $100 million in grants for developing career and technical training in green jobs. The three bills are explained here.

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