Southern California environment news and trends

California’s shared clean energy bill wins pivotal vote

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Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

A field of solar panels.

SB 843, the proposed California legislation slated to expand renewable energy access to all residents took a big step forward yesterday when it passed the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee in a landslide victory with a vote margin of 9-2.

“I was the guy at the table testifying and trying to answer questions,” explained Tom Price of solar investment firm CleanPath Ventures about the hearing when reached by phone. He sat alongside Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis), the author of the bill. “It went incredibly well. We had a line through the back door of people wanting to support it, ranging from the Department of Defense to churches and schools. The opposing side was all utilities. But I don’t think we’re really all that far apart.”

As we reported earlier this year, if passed, the legislation would allow California residents to purchase up 100 percent renewable energy from large-scale community facilities and receiving credit on the corresponding bills from the state’s major utilities, including PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Potentially, the credits could offset those bills completely.

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New bill aims to give all Californians clean energy options

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Jaime Rius/AFP/Getty Images

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).

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