California Governor Schwarzenegger Approves Greenhouse Gas Law
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill into law on September 27th that will cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state by an estimated 25 percent by 2020. Because such reductions are often accomplished through energy efficiency and renewable energy, the law could be an added boon for the clean energy industries that are already flourishing in the state.
Assembly Bill (AB) 32 requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to develop regulations and market mechanisms that will ultimately reduce California's GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, an estimated 25 percent reduction. Mandatory caps will begin in 2012 for significant GHG sources—such as utilities, industries, and large businesses—and ratchet down to meet the 2020 goals. CARB must establish the statewide GHG emissions cap by January 1st, 2008; adopt mandatory reporting rules for significant GHG sources and adopt a plan for achieving GHG emissions reductions by January 1st, 2009; and adopt its final GHG emission regulations by January 1st, 2011. See the governor's press release and the CARB Climate Change Web page.
Governor Schwarzenegger has also signed a number of related bills into law. Senate Bill (SB) 107 requires the state's investor-owned utilities to draw on renewable energy for 20 percent of their electricity by 2010, codifying a rule that was set by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the California Public Utilities Commission. AB 1925 requires the CEC to consider capturing and storing industrial carbon dioxide. SB 1368 prohibits the state's utilities from buying their power from power plants that emit high amounts of GHGs, particularly those located outside the state. AB 2778 extends the Self Generation Incentive Program for distributed generation resources to January 1st, 2010. AB 2600 increases by 10,000 the number of permits for hybrid vehicles using high occupancy vehicle lanes. SB 1505 calls for the California Hydrogen Highway to result in reduced emissions of GHGs and other pollutants and will eventually require one-third of the hydrogen to be produced from renewable energy sources. AB 1969 will encourage water and wastewater agencies to generate their own renewable power, while AB 2573 will enable the City of San Francisco to install large-scale solar projects at the best locations, allowing the projects to offset power used by the city regardless of their location. See the governor's press releases relating to SB 107 and AB 1925 and SB 1368, AB 2778, and AB 2600, and for more on AB 2573, see the press release from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.