RPS: Will a Schwarzenegger order work as well as law?

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Governor Schwarzenegger plans to announce aggressive new standards for renewable energy. Legislators, environmentalists, and energy producers say they share the governor’s goals. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports some don’t share his views about accomplishing them.

Molly Peterson: Late last week lawmakers passed bills that would require all utilities in the state to get 33 percent of their power from renewable sources within 11 years, but the governor says those laws are too complex and set too many limits on renewable power coming from out of state. Instead, he wants to issue an executive order. Palo Alto state senator Joe Simitian says that can’t work as well as the law he wrote.

Joe Simitian: It doesn’t have the force and effect of law. This governor is termed out in less than a year and a half. And existing provisions of law actually limit any requirement on the investor owned utilities to 20 percent by 2010.

How you’re going to make 33 percent by 2020 happen in the face of all those obstacles is beyond me, and it’s beyond anyone I’ve talked to who has an objective view of the issue.

Peterson: Three of the biggest utilities in the state side with Simitian. So do environmentalists and labor groups that see green jobs in the proposed laws. But independent renewable energy providers and Southern California Edison say without the governor’s plan, renewable energy will suffer in California.