Wolk’s community green energy legislation sent to governor

September 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The Assembly voted Friday to approve Senate Bill 43, broadly-supported legislation by Senator Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and coauthor Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, to establish a program that would open access to clean and affordable renewable energy to millions of Californians who currently can’t take advantage of the state’s renewable programs.

The Senate voted late Wednesday on the bill, which will now be sent to the governor.

“SB 43 will allow the millions of Californians who cannot install their own solar unit, windmill, or other renewable power generation system to obtain renewable energy through their utility,” Wolk said in a statement. “The bill will create thousands of jobs and encourage more investment in an important sector of our state’s economy, while helping the state to meet its renewable energy goals. And it won’t require any state funds or shift costs to consumers who chose not to participate. I applaud the Assembly’s passage of SB 43 and look forward to sending this bill to the governor.”

“This bill allows everybody to enjoy the wide benefits of renewable energy,” Williams said. “Solar and renewable energy should not be the privilege of some and this bill allows all of us to demonstrate our environmental responsibility, while saving us thousands of dollars over the long term.”

SB 43 establishes the Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program, a 600 Megawatt statewide program that will allow the customers of investor-owned utilities- including local governments, businesses, schools, homeowners, municipal customers, and renters — to purchase up to 100 percent of their electricity from a renewable energy facility. The program would sunset in 2019.

Among those to benefit from SB 43 would be the state’s millions of renters as well as business owners who lease their stores or offices. The bill will also provide access to disadvantaged communities disproportionately affected by environmental pollution and other hazards that can harm the public’s health–as well as homeowners unable to finance installation of a renewable power generation system.

“SB 43 will not only meet the goals of California’s current Renewables Portfolio Standard, it will bring much-needed clean energy into areas that need it most,” said Strela Cervas with the California Environmental Justice Alliance. “The communities I work in suffer alarming rates of premature death, asthma, lost work days, and respiratory related absences. We need to direct more local renewable energy into low-income communities of color that are impacted first and worst from climate change, while creating sustainable long-term clean energy careers in these communities. SB 43 begins to address this green divide by giving low-income communities access to green energy.”

“SB 43 will give utility customers in California the option to choose 100 percent renewable energy, regardless of their ability to put solar panels on their roof, for the first time,” said Susannah Churchill, policy advocate with The Vote Solar Initiative. “The bill will connect more Californians with the solar energy they want, and will deliver big benefits to our state’s economy, the environment and public health. I applaud the Assembly’s approval of this measure, and urge the Senate to send it to the Governor.”

The bill’s broad coalition of support includes the League of California Cities, Los Angeles Business Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, California Solar Energy Industries Association, SolarCity , Clean Power Campaign, Sierra Club, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Health Coalition, American Lung Association, The Utility Reform Network (TURN), California Interfaith Power and Light, The Western Center on Law and Poverty, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, and School Energy Coalition.

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