California Dreamin’

Golden State Leads Clean Energy Standards

In the nation’s most aggressive clean energy legislation to date, California will require utilities in the state to obtain at least 33 percent of their electricity from clean, renewable sources such as the wind and sun by 2020, revising the previous standard of 20 percent by 2010. Adopted as part of a green jobs stimulus package, “Today’s vote is not just a victory for California’s economy and environment, but for the entire nation,” says Laura Wisland, an energy analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

The new standard garnered the backing of a broad range of electric utilities, ratepayer groups, environmental organizations and renewable energy businesses. The UCS estimates that the state will be responsible for more than 25 percent of the renewable energy generated by state standards across the country in 2020. The amount of heat-trapping global warming emissions displaced as a result will be equivalent to removing about 3 million cars from the road.

A 2011 Gallup poll found that of eight actions the U.S. Congress could take this year—from overhauling the tax code and immigration reform to speedy withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, Americans most favor an energy bill that provides incentives for using alternative energy; 83 percent said, “Do it!”

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