California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order Tuesday which will increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to 33% by 2020–the most aggressive RPS in the United States. The move came after the governor threatened to veto bills passed by the state’s legislature that would have also pushed the standard to 33%, but would have limited the amount of energy that could be imported from outside of California and were seen by Schwarzenegger and his allies as “unnecessarily complex.”
“Three years ago, I signed AB 32 and committed California to roll back our greenhouse gas emissions a nation-leading 25% by 2020. We’ve made a lot of progress since then, but we still have a lot of work to do to reach our goals,” stated Gov. Schwarzenegger at a press conference with a backdrop of a ground-mounted solar panel power system in Sacramento. “So I am taking action today to make sure California remains a pioneer in clean energy and clean jobs and directing the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to enact regulations to reach our 33% renewable energy standards by 2020.”
The governor’s office says the order puts the “highest priority on renewable resources that will provide the greatest environmental benefits that can be developed quickly and support reliable, efficient and cost-effective electricity system operations including resources and facilities located throughout the Western Interconnection. Working with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the Independent System Operator (ISO) and the California Energy Commission (CEC), CARB must adopt these regulations by July 31, 2010.”
The Los Angeles Times reports that Schwarzenegger believes the bills, which were approved early Saturday in the last hours of the legislative session, “would unfairly discriminate against alternative power produced in other Western states and would make it difficult, he argued, for electric utilities to get all the renewable power they need, when they want it and at a competitive price.”
He objected to a provision that would “limit utilities from using credits purchased from out-of-state wind and solar projects to cover more than 30% of their renewable obligations,” according to the Times.
The cap was seen by labor unions and ratepayer advocates as needed to ensure that most of the renewable energy projects are built and operated in California and provide high-paying jobs, the report says.
The text of the executive order can be found by clicking here.