This week the California State Senate approved Senate Bill 2X, authored by Senator Joe Simitian (D-San Mateo), which would require California utilities and other electricity providers to generate 33 percent of their electricity from renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, geothermal and small hydro by 2020. If approved by the Assembly, the bill will boost confidence in clean energy investments, create jobs, and bring California closer to meeting its pollution reduction goals.
The vote was 26 to 11 in favor of the bill, with aye votes from three Republican Senators – Sam Blakslee (R-San Luis Obispo), Sharon Runner (R-Antelope Valley), and Tony Strickland (R-Santa Barbara). I believe that the votes of these three Senators are harbingers of a new era in which renewable energy is seen not through a partisan lens, but instead as a collaborative effort to build a diverse and resilient energy resource base, minimize the threat of fossil fuel price spikes, and enhance our energy security.
Billions of dollars are now being invested in renewable energy projects in traditionally Republican parts of the state like San Bernadino, Kern, Riverside, and Imperial counties. Over the past few weeks, there has been a steady parade of renewable energy investors, developers, and supporters into the offices of Senate Republicans highlighting the jobs and revenues that these projects will create. This trend will continue to grow, not just in California, but in states across the west.
NRDC will be working closely with the broad coalition of SB 2X supporters over the next couple of weeks to get this bill passed by the Assembly and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown. Voters made it clear last November that they want to move forward with a clean energy future by defeating Prop 23. Now we must implement the wish of the voters.