California Passes Renewable Energy Standard

California takes the lead on renewable energy, green jobs

Wind and Solar power are clean renewable energy sourcesCalifornia’s landmark renewable energy standard legislation—sometimes referred to as the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS), or the 33 percent RPS law—passed the state legislature on March 29, 2011. Governor Jerry Brown signed it into law on April 12, 2011.

This law will require California utilities to provide at least a third of their electricity from clean and safe renewable sources like the wind and the sun by the year 2020.

California Leads the Nation in Clean Energy

The 33 percent RPS law creates the most aggressive renewable energy requirement in the country and positions California as a national leader in clean energy investments.

UCS estimates that with the 33 percent RPS law in place, California will be responsible for over a quarter of the renewable energy generated in the country in 2020.

Renewable Energy Standards Create Jobs

The 33 percent RPS law provides meaningful economic benefits to California by stimulating clean technology investment and innovation, thereby creating new clean energy jobs.

Without the force of law behind the 33 percent renewable energy requirement, investors and developers lacked the certainty they needed to build new clean energy generation technologies, and growth of California's renewable energy industry could have slowed to a halt. Instead, it is estimated that the 33 percent RPS could generate over 500,000 new green collar jobs in total over the next several decades.

A Victory for Clean Energy

After defeating Proposition 23—the 2010 attempt by Texas oil companies to overturn California’s landmark environmental laws—this is California’s single biggest victory in transitioning to a clean energy economy that will clean up our air, reduce the heat-trapping emisions that cause global warming, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

UCS’s role

For over a decade, UCS has been a lead group advocating for an aggressive California renewable energy standard.  By providing technical expertise on the state’s complex electricity sector, building and coordinating support from a broad range of stakeholders, meeting regularly with leading elected officials, engaging the media to report on the issue, and activating our own members to express their will, UCS was successful in matching our technical analysis and citizen activism with our policy success. 

Last Revised: April 14, 2011

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