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Senate Passes Bill Cementing Renewables Goal in State Law

The California State Senate has approved a measure setting rules for how utilities can meet an ambitious goal. The goal is to draw a third of their power from alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal within 10 years.

The bill by Democrat Joe Simitian passed Thursday by a 26-to-11 vote. Two Democrats opposed the bill, but three Republicans voted yes, including Senator Sharon Runner, who represents the High Desert in Southern California. She says local officials in her district are counting on new jobs from solar and wind plants.

“A majority of my district gets 350 days of sunshine every year and lots and lots of wind,” said Runner.

Utilities are already required to meet the 33 percent goal through an executive order from former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The new bill establishes that goal as state law, rather than leaving it up to air regulators to implement.

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