MILPITAS, Calif. – Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed legislation requiring California utilities to get one-third of their power from renewable sources, giving the state the most aggressive alternative energy mandate in the U.S.
California utilities and other electricity providers have until the end of 2020 to draw 33 percent of their power from solar panels, windmills and other renewable sources.
“There are people who think we can drill our way to happiness and prosperity,” the Democratic governor told hundreds of workers and other supporters at a solar panel manufacturing plant near San Jose. “Instead of just taking oil from thousands of miles away, we’re taking the sun and converting it.”
Previous California law required utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources.
Supporters of the higher standard said it will reassure investors and keep money flowing to develop alternative energy sources. They say that will lead to cleaner air and job growth in the green energy sector.
Critics of the legislation said sticking with traditional energy sources such as coal and natural gas would be cheaper. Business groups point to estimates that the higher standard could drive up electricity costs for California ratepayers by more than 7 percent, despite language in the legislation to limit cost increases.