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California Legislature Doubles Down on Clean Energy Policies

Workers install a rooftop solar panel on a home in California. Photo courtesy GRID Alternatives.

Last week, the 2018 California legislative session culminated in historic fashion. With years of scorching drought, devastating wildfires, and threat of utility bankruptcy serving as the backdrop, motivated policymakers passed a precedent-setting slate of clean energy policies—including a landmark renewable energy goal to achieve 60 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045. It is now up to Governor Jerry Brown to sign the bills and make them law.

In addition to increasing the state’s renewable energy goal, policymakers also agreed to advance a new incentive program that will spur the market for clean water and efficient heating technologies for residential buildings; ordered the California Energy Commission to identify ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030; adopted measures to improve forestry management and firefighting aid, while reaching a compromise with investor-owned utilities to address future wildfire liability and financing needs; and voted to accelerate the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, scooters, and bikes deployed by ride hailing services. Efforts to expand the California Independent System Operator into a Western regional transmission organization, however, did not advance.

While Energy Foundation does not support legislative lobbying, the diverse and effective coalition of organizations with whom we have worked for years played a critical role in these significant achievements. Grantees and partners worked to effectively educate policymakers on the health, jobs, economic development, and national security benefits of these clean energy policies for all Californians.

On the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit and in the midst of eroding federal policies, the leadership of California and other states—such as Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio—is imperative to making progress on clean energy and climate.

Jose Carmona, Program Director, California Campaigns


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