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Calif. Governor Seeks to Boost Renewable Energy

by Reuters
Reuters - March 18, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO, (Reuters) - California Gov. Gray Davis on Monday backed legislation that would force the state's investor-owned utilities to almost double the amount of power they get from renewable energy sources.

The state Senate bill, if approved, would require California's three investor-owned utilities by 2010 to get around 20 percent of the electricity they supply to their customers from renewable sources such as the wind and sun.

Such renewable energy sources currently provide about 12 percent of the state's power.

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto), has already cleared the state Senate and is now before the California Assembly's Utilities and Commerce Committee.

"California has long been the nation's leader in renewable energy," Davis said. "This legislation will continue that tradition of ensuring that renewables are a critical part of our energy future."

California created a public power authority last year as part of the state's efforts to avoid a repeat of the energy crisis that led to blackouts and skyrocketing electricity prices in 2000 and early 2001.

That agency has said it plans to finance a total of 3,500 megawatts of "clean" power by 2006. That would be the equivalent of three big nuclear power plants or enough electricity for 3.5 million homes.

"You need someone to buy it. This bill deals with the demand side," said Kip Lipper, chief of staff for Byron Sher.

Pacific Gas & Electric spokesman John Nelson said the utility has some concerns about the bill "as it is written" and was working with its author to address them.

"We are certainly supportive of the concepts behind the bill," he said, but added that his company was concerned that it only applied to investor-owned utilities.

California is home of the nation's largest municipal utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

The state has three investor owned utilities, PG&E Corp. unit Pacific Gas & Electric, Edison International (EIX ) subsidiary Southern California Edison and Sempra Energy (SRE ) unit San Diego Gas & Electric.

Calif. Governor Seeks to Boost Renewable Energy
Reuters March 18, 2002

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