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Published on October 2nd, 2012 | by Andrew


Paving the Way to a Low-Carbon Society: California Governor Enacts 19 New Clean Energy Bills

October 2nd, 2012 by  

Much legislative action is needed to pave the way toward a low-carbon, green economy, and California Governor Jerry Brown took significant steps in doing so Sept. 27 by signing 19 clean energy bills into state law.

Streamlining the process of obtaining building or other permits to have rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed, California Senate Bill 1222 (SB 1222), authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-SF), standardizes and limits the fees city and county governments can charge. Local government agencies and school districts are eligible for reimbursement of certain costs incurred as a result of the state mandate.

More than 1 million more rooftop solar energy systems are expected to be installed in California in coming years. The cost of obtaining permits for them varies widely across state jurisdictions, and “high permitting fees increase the costs of installations and reduce the ability for solar to be deployed across all income spectrums,” the new law notes.


Lowering the Cost of Rooftop Solar; Public Clean Energy Partnership with DoD

“This bill would require permit fees for rooftop solar energy systems, as specified, by a city, county, city or county, or charter city to not exceed the estimated reasonable cost of providing the service for which the fee is charged, which cannot exceed $500 plus $15 per kilowatt for each kilowatt above 15kW for residential rooftop solar energy systems, and $1,000 plus $7 per kilowatt for each kilowatt between 51kW and 250kW, plus $5 for every kilowatt above 250kW, for commercial rooftop solar energy systems, unless certain conditions are met,” according to SB 1222.

Also worthy of particular note is the “Energy Security Coordination Act of 2012” (SB 1409), “which strengthens the partnership between California and the U.S. military.” Per the terms of the bill, which was authored by State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) will act as liaison and coordinator between the state government and US Department of Defense (DoD) on clean energy policy in order to enhance collaborations in achieving energy security and creating new jobs.

“The health of the environment, job creation and indeed, the security of the nation, depend on how we end America’s dangerous addiction to foreign oil,” Governor Brown stated in a press release. “California and the U.S. military are working together to build a clean energy future and this bill helps make sure it happens.”

The US military is the single largest energy consumer in the country, spending some $20 billion a year on energy. Recognizing the critical role renewables, clean energy, and energy efficiency can play in US national energy security, the US Armed Forces are on a renewable and clean energy drive under the Obama Administration’s leadership. Colorado’s Pike Research forecasts that the US Dept. of Defense will spend $1.8 billion on clean energy by 2025.

Here’s the rundown on the 17 other clean energy bills signed into state law Sept. 27, from Gov. Brown’s website:

  • AB 693 by Assemblymember Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) – Local government: Sonoma County Regional Climate Protection Authority.
  • AB 1124 by Assemblymember Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) – Landlord and tenant.
  • AB 1255 by Assemblymember Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella) – Energy: renewable energy resources.
  • AB 1900 by Assemblymember Mike Gatto (D-Burbank) – Renewable energy resources: biomethane.
  • AB 2165 by Assemblymember Jerry Hill (D-South San Francisco) – Net energy metering: eligible fuel cell customer-generators.
  • AB 2187 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) – Renewable energy resources.
  • AB 2196 by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-Eureka) – Renewable energy resources.
  • AB 2227 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) – Local publicly owned electric utilities: State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission: reporting.
  • AB 2249 by Assemblymember Joan Buchanan (D-San Ramon) – Solar Water Heating and Efficiency Act of 2007.
  • AB 2339 by Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Santa Barbara) – Energy: geothermal technologies.
  • AB 2514 by Assemblymember Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) – Net energy metering.
  • SB 594 by Senator Lois Wolk (D-Davis) – Energy: net energy metering.
  • SB 1066 by Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) – Coastal resources: climate change.
  • SB 1122 by Senator Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield) – Energy: renewable bioenergy projects. A signing message can be found here.
  • SB 1207 by Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield) – California Alternate Rates for Energy program.
  • SB 1268 by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) – Energy: energy conservation assistance.
  • SB 1332 by Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (D-Chino) – Renewable energy resources: electric utilities.

Photo Credit: SF Gate 


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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

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