California Toughens Energy Standards


"CA to acquire a third of their power from alternative energy sources."

The state, with some of the nation's most ambitious clean energy standards, went even further Thursday: Regulators approved new regulations requiring utilities to draw a third of their power from alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal in 10 years.

California already is pushing utilities to reach a 20%-renewable standard by next year, which has been a struggle to accomplish. Toughening the rules could prompt regulators across the country to do the same, but some consumers fret that they will end up paying for the changes in the form of higher utility bills.

At a time when nearly one-eighth of the state's work force is jobless, some want California to dial back, not bolster, its leading-edge air pollution rules. A November ballot measure bankrolled by Texas oil companies would delay the state's landmark 2006 global warming law until the unemployment rate falls dramatically.

Advocates of the proposed utility standards plan say it will usher in "green" jobs and save rate-payers money in the long run by decreasing dependence on fossil fuels.

Some clean-air advocates gave tepid support for the regulation but said it is filled with loopholes that would allow utilities to circumvent clean-energy upgrades.

Renewable energy projects are under way across the West, though many are years from being able to deliver power to energy-hungry cities. On Thursday, the California Energy Commission approved plans to build a massive solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert that could generate enough power for about 140,000 California homes.

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