California Adopts Aggressive Renewables Portfolio Standard

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On April 12, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law one of the nation’s most far-reaching Renewables Portfolio Standards (RPS), which requires “retail sellers” of electricity and local, publicly owned electric utilities to ensure that 33 percent of the electricity they procure comes from renewable resources by December 31, 2020. “Retail sellers” include “electrical corporations” (generally, one of the three large investor-owned utilities, or IOUs, in California: Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric), community choice aggregators, and electric service providers. Senate Bill X1 2, introduced by Senator Joe Simitian, is the culmination of four years of debate regarding the rules for a 33 percent RPS. This new law replaces California’s previous RPS, which required the state’s regulated electric utilities to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by December 31, 2010, with extensions available to 2013 under flexible compliance rules.

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