Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting Clean Power Plugged In

Today’s packed Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications hearing showed just how many people hope to bring more clean power to California.

Right now is our best chance to give California’s clean-energy future a solid foundation. That’s why our state’s renewable portfolio standard should be at least 33 percent by 2020.

We can make that standard even stronger by requiring that newly generated power come from truly clean sources. It just makes sense to consider the potential impacts of building new dams and hydroelectric facilities, or of converting waste into energy. These proposals have a price tag that will be paid not only by ratepayers, but by California’s wild rivers and clean air.

Now is also a great time to start thinking about an enforcement strategy for bringing California into the clean-energy future. As Senator Simitian mentioned while defending the bill, California’s Public Utilities Commission never has issued a single penalty for utilities that fail to meet state standards for new renewable power. Not one.

That’s why it’s a good time to hold those commissioners to a higher standard as well, with regard to conflict-of-interest. We can’t continue the revolving-door policy that encourages the regulated to become the regulators.

Sierra Club California pledges to continue working with Sen. Simitian and the committee to improve SB 14 and to bring cleaner energy to all Californians.
Read Sierra Club California's full letter to the committee.
photo courtesy US Dept. of Energy

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