Assembly Energy Committee Passes Clean Energy Bills

By Published On: April 17, 2009

A series of bills tweaking existing law to advance green power was passed by the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee this week. Legislation requiring outdoor lighting efficiency standards sooner rather than later passed the committee on 9-5 vote April 13. According to AB 228’s author, Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael), the measure aims to tighten outdoor lighting standards ahead of the current deadline. Currently, the California Energy Commission is required to set rules that would cut the energy use of outside lamps by at least 25 percent of 2007 levels by 2018. AB 228 requires the energy use of the lights to be curbed no later than the end of 2011. A measure to standardize the training and educational curriculum for renewable and green jobs passed 11-3. AB 280 by Assembly member Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) seeks to improve the training for installing solar rooftops and other green jobs at high schools, vocational centers, and community colleges. “I can’t think of anything more relevant to the Million Solar Homes Initiative than having people trained properly,” said V. John White, Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies executive director. Another bill by De La Torre seeks to have utility right-of-ways used as recreational parks and open spaces. AB 521, approved on a 12-2 vote, would allow utilities to lease their property to cities and counties for public recreational purposes. One measure that went down in defeat sought to allow hydropower-rich utilities to count large hydropower towards their renewable mandate. It would have included Pacific Gas & Electric and a number of Northern California public power agencies. Under current law, hydropower projects up to 30 MW can count toward a private or public utilities renewable portfolio mandate. Opponents and the committee chair warned that allowing hydro larger than 30 MW to qualify as green power under the state Renewable Portfolio Standard retroactively would undermine the development of new alternative power projects.

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