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New bill aims to give all Californians clean energy options

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When it comes to renewable energy, millions of Californians (more than 75 percent of all households) are unable to participate for any number of reasons. Primary among those reasons: Renting instead of owning a home. A proposed new bill is aiming to remove that restriction and offer clean energy options to those millions of renters and more residents currently unable to do so.

As reported by the Davis Enterprise, Democratic State Senator Lois Wolk debuted Senate Bill 843 last week, with the intention of offering the option to said renters and other California power consumers.

“This bill would give millions of Californians the option to buy a portion of the power that is generated at a community renewable energy facility off site and to receive a credit on their utility bill for the clean energy that they purchase,” Wolk said at a Davis news conference last Friday (May 11).

The bill (known as the Community-Based Renewable Energy Self-Generation Program) would encompass all of the state’s major utilities (PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric), and allow consumers to buy up to 100 percent renewable energy from nearby facilities. Those purchases would then be converted into credits on corresponding energy bills. The clean energy credits would offset the corresponding utility bill, with the potential of covering them altogether.

According to some, like solar farmer Tim Price of PVUSA, the bill would benefit the economy. Price claims it would generate as much as $6 billion in economic activity and $500 million in tax revenues and create in the area of 48,000 jobs.

“The bill will encourage, I believe, more investment and create local jobs in the California clean energy sector, which is a very important part of the future of our state economy,” Wolk told the Davis Enterprise.