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California Goes Clean

State Senator Kevin De Leon Passes 100% Clean Energy Bill

By Sean Brown

State Sen. Kevin de León notched a big win with the passage of a clean power bill that just might energize his campaign for U.S. Senate. (kevindeleon.com)

As members scramble to pass bills in the final week of this legislative session, California has decided to go 100% clean energy. SB 100, better known as the Clean Energy Bill, narrowly passed today as the vote call stayed open for over an hour.

SB 100 will establish the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 to set a new clean renewable target for California’s electrical grid of 100% by 2045 and directs California’s climate and energy agencies to use this new target to ensure the state’s energy grid is 100% clean before the middle of the century.

The expansive proposal specifically increases the Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirement from 50% by 2030 to 60%, and creates the policy of planning to meet all of the state’s retail electricity supply with a mix of RPS-eligible and zero-carbon resources by December 31, 2045, for a total of 100% clean energy.

Kevin de León (SD24-Los Angeles), the former President pro tempore of the California Senate, is given little shot of being elected to the US Senate this fall as he faces long-time incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). However, he has forced Sen. Feinstein to campaign harder than she has in years and has repeatedly embarrassed her with shows of strength among the party faithful.

In February, de León defeated Feinstein 54-37 among political insiders at the state Democratic Party’s annual convention. Feinstein crushed him in June’s jungle primary, but de León’s 12 percent was enough for second place, setting the scene for a D-on-D slugfest in the Fall. Now, with the official endorsement of the party, de León will serve as the top-of-the-ticket face on all party GOTV communications.

Clean energy has been a major campaign emphasis for De León and this proposal will no doubt be a focal point of De León’s policy platform as he continues his likely up-hill campaign against Feinstein. According to a poll cited by the Sacramento Bee, “De León remains far behind Feinstein.” Acting like and incumbent with a lead, Feinstein has declined all invitations to debate and acting like a trailing challenger who needs name ID,  de León has challenged Feinstein to debate him three times before the election. No official debate is currently scheduled.

Though SB 100 has already passed the Senate, the Assembly, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the frequently tough Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee, and Governor Jerry Brown has indicated that he will sign the bill. Despite this, not everyone is in support. Nearly all Republicans voted against the bill, and even some Democrats are not backing the bill. Earlier today Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-AD21) spoke out in opposition to the bill, stating “This bill will raise the utility rates on poor people… and this is just a talking point bill.”

“California, given its size, will likely influence other states to adopt similar legislation and could serve as a national model. Earlier this summer, New York lawmakers failed for a third time to pass the Climate and Community Protection Act, a bill calling for 100 percent renewable energy statewide by 2050.” (Huffingtonpost.com)

The opposition has one final chance in stopping the bill when it goes back to the house of origin for a final vote in the legislature before continuing on to the Governor’s desk.

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