For those not schooled by nuns and priests--a big part of Catholic school education involved strict orders to listen to the good angel on our right shoulder. Embedded in my memory are countless warnings and whacks to tune out the devil on my left shoulder who sought to lure me down a treacherous path of no return. In hindsight, Sister Helen Angela\u2019s methods weren\u2019t all bad. In fact, legislative and regulatory committee chairs presiding over California\u2019s renewable mandate, as well as lawmakers at the national level, could use her methods for establishing order and stopping name calling and bullying. It could also help public officials do what they are supposed to do\u2013represent and protect the public\u2019s interest. Our national leaders also should tune into California\u2019s renewable lessons to avoid the pitfalls of listening to the demon on the left shoulder. Legislators and regulators were swayed by bad advice during the development of California\u2019s renewables portfolio standard law setting a 20 percent renewable energy standard by 2010. State lawmakers continue to be lured along the road to hell as they attempt this summer to raise the renewable energy bar to 33 percent of energy supplies by 2020. As Congress attempts to enact a national renewable standard a multi-pronged pitchfork is in clear view. While the good angel allowed California to pass its renewables mandate in 2002, the devil has been in the detail. Investor-owned utilities--mandated to have one fifth of electric supplies come from wind, solar and other renewable resources by next year--won\u2019t reach the standard before 2012. That is largely because the law is bogged down by avoidably complex provisions, and because renewable deal-making occurs behind closed doors. Permitting the contracts private utilities sign with independent energy producers to be reviewed by a select committee in secret has kept the public in the dark about the costs and terms of the deals. Renewable developers are also put at a disadvantage because they are subjected to time consuming one-on-one negotiations with often more powerful private utilities. A fair approach would be offering public, standard, long-term contract terms. The state\u2019s seven-year-old renewable law sets a market price \u201creferent\u201d to determine the reasonableness of the cost of a renewable contract, creating an uneven playing field between renewable developers and fossil fuel project developers. There is no such price benchmark for traditional plants. In addition, fluctuating natural gas prices are passed on directly to the ratepayer with no questions asked. During the latest round of debates over state legislation (SB 14) to boost the renewable mandate to one-third of both private and public utility power portfolios, the left shoulder devil may be getting the upper hand. The proposed measure includes continuing the market price referent along with other details aimed at controlling power costs. Following this path led to less-than-impressive results and continuing on it will not get us to a greener energy industry. Less renewable energy supplies means more fossil-fueled power electricity and more greenhouse gas emissions. We must get beyond parochial interests dominating the debate over getting more renewable supplies into the grid. To ensure wind, solar, geothermal and other alternative power supply at least one-third of demand we need to switch the focus from the renewable trees to a renewable forest. That means focusing on the health of California\u2019s environment and economy, not special interests. We in California and at the nation\u2019s capitol must heed the words of the angel calling for a commitment to build a vibrant green energy industry--one that creates many good jobs in a cleaner and cooler environment. That way we avoid continuing down a treacherous path that toasts us and our planet.