Troubles Ahead for California’s Climate and Solar Bills

by | Sep 15, 2009

capitolbuildingCalifornia’s Governor says he plans to veto a bill that requires the state to get one third of its electricity from renewable resources, while state legislators failed to pass a solar bill that would expand the state’s net metering program.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger believes the bill would make it more difficult to build solar plants in the state and to buy power from neighbors, although he will issue an executive order with the same goal, but different rules, according to Reuters.

Schwarzenegger will put the burden on the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to implement the 33 percent goal, but that agency, which is already implementing AB32 greenhouse gas regulations, will be given no additional resources, according to the California Majority Report.

Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of the Independent Energy Producers association, which backs the governor’s veto, told Reuters that makers of solar thermal power plants would face new permitting requirements, and out-of-state wind generators would face limits on generation outside California.

At the same time, the 2009 California Legislative failed to pass AB 560, a bill that would have allowed solar customers to continue benefiting from a program called net energy metering. This program enables energy customers to reduce their power bills when their small solar or wind system output exceeds their use.

Proponents of the bill say by not passing the bill, which would have doubled the net metering program capacity to 5 percent, will dramatically reduce solar installations and impact green jobs.

Without AB 560, parts of California are expected to receive enough applications to hit the current program cap as early as 2010 according to estimates from solar advocacy groups.

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