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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                          
October 9, 2009  

Alicia Trost, 916-651-4188


SACRAMENTO—  Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Senator Joe Simitian (D- Palo Alto), Chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee, sent the Governor the following letter requesting continued productive conversations working toward adopting an enforceable renewable portfolio standard: 

October 8, 2009

The Honorable Arnold Schwarzenegger
Governor, State of California
State Capitol, First Floor
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: SB 14 (Simitian et al) and AB 64 (Krekorian et al)
33% Renewable Portfolio Legislation

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:

Some weeks ago, we wrote requesting that you join us in working to adopt an enforceable law establishing a state renewable portfolio standard of 33% by 2020.

Notwithstanding the good faith efforts of your office and ours, with the exception of one preliminary conversation, we have been unable to meet.  With the deadline for action on this legislation next week, we renew our request to meet with you and your staff at the earliest possible convenience so that an enforceable RPS statute can be adopted this year. 

After nearly three years of work, last month the Legislature approved Senate Bill 14 (Simitian et al) and Assembly Bill 64 (Krekorian et al) that together enact a comprehensive renewable portfolio standard law for the achievement of 33% renewable energy by the year 2020.

These measures have support from public and private utilities (e.g. Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power) who are some of the largest employers in the state.

They enjoy the support of major renewable energy companies representing the largest renewable energy investors in the nation (e.g. First Solar, California Wind Energy Association (CalWEA), Bright Source Energy, Large Solar Energy Association).

They also are supported by major consumer and environmental groups (e.g. The Utility Reform Network (TURN), Natural Resources Defense Council, Environment California, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Sierra Club

In short, there is a broad and diverse coalition of supporters for this legislation, and for the need for an enforceable law on renewable energy in California.

Despite the support from varied interests, concerns have been raised.  Your staff provided us a list of issues drafted by an advocacy group calling itself the “Real Steel Coalition” and suggested that addressing those issues was necessary to obtain your approval of the renewable energy legislation pending before you. 

We are ready and willing to work with you at your earliest convenience to address many, if not all, of the issues on that list.  In some cases the changes would entail short amendments that easily can be accommodated in cleanup legislation.  Other changes would require more extensive discussion, review, and drafting. 

In the interests of resolving issues quickly and demonstrating our openness to compromise, we have taken the list of issues sent us and prepared responses to each. 

As you can see, many of the issues raised by your staff and the “Real Steel Coalition,” can be quickly remedied if parties are open to good faith negotiation and resolution.

You have thus far indicated your intention to veto the renewable portfolio legislation, and instead issued an Executive Order to implement the 33% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard.

As we noted in our earlier communication, an Executive Order does not have the force and effect of law and will only cause confusion and uncertainty in California’s energy markets, jeopardizing California’s role as the world leader in renewable energy development and green jobs. 

Moreover, at least one candidate to succeed you as Governor has stated publicly that she would suspend all AB 32 related regulatory activities, including those related to renewable energy under your Executive Order, if she is elected.

Our concerns with an unenforceable Executive Order now have been confirmed in writing to you by those green businesses and corporations who will provide the thousands of new green jobs and economic development to revive and expand the California economy.

Specifically, in separate letters to you, leading green energy interests have stated the following:

“Without [SB 14/AB 64] to overcome current statutory obstacles and provide clear guidance to state agencies, the RPS market could come to a standstill, stalling or derailing project developments and transmission planning efforts that must continue apace in order to achieve 33% renewables by 2020.”

California Wind Energy Association
Letter September 22, 2009

“Administrative action alone, while an important signal of current support for the 33% RPS, cannot create the certainty of unitary, stable, and permanent market rules that is necessary for [renewable energy] investment.”

First Solar and Bright Source Energy
Letter October 1, 2009

“A 33% RPS based only on an Executive Order, without new legislation, is inherently subject to change.  It would require new administrative processes overlaid on existing ones, increasing market uncertainty as well as the costs of and risks to the RPS program. 

… order to make the 33% RPS a reality, the state must renew its efforts to enact 33% RPS statute.

Large Solar Energy Association
Letter October 5, 2009

In our view, it is essential to green businesses and the renewable energy investment community which bring jobs and capital into California, that California’s 33% RPS be statutorily established and not subject to changing administrations.

Ensuring that California sets the most ambitious targets in the world for renewable energy creates jobs, cleans the air and provides energy security. 

But meeting those goals will take years of sustained effort, public and private investment and commitment on the part of state government, which can only be achieved through enactment of a strong state law.

As we stated in our earlier letter, we stand ready to work with you to identify the key concerns your Administration may have, and to work to craft cleanup legislation to address those concerns where appropriate.

We only ask that you keep and open mind, work with us in good faith, and consider the greater good to California in passing an enforceable 33% RPS law.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.  We look forward to working with you and hope to hear from you very soon.


Senate President Pro Tempore

State Senator, Eleventh District