California Becomes First in Nation Mandating Solar Power for New Homes

Solar panelsCalifornia officially became the first state in the nation on Wednesday, Dec. 5 to require homes built in 2020 and later be solar powered.

To a smattering of applause, the California Building Standards Commission voted unanimously to add energy standards approved last May by another panel to the state building code.

Two commissioners and several public speakers lauded the new code as “a historic undertaking” and a model for the nation.

“These provisions really are historic and will be a beacon of light for the rest of the country,” said Kent Sasaki, a structural engineer and one of six commissioners voting for the new energy code. “(It’s) the beginning of substantial improvement in how we produce energy and reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.”

The new provisions are expected to dramatically boost the number of rooftop solar panels in the Golden State. Last year, builders took out permits for more than 115,000 new homes — almost half of them for single-family homes. …

This article was originally published by the Orange County Register

California is following Germany’s Failed Climate Goals

Global WarmingGermany was the first major economy to make a big shift in its energy mix toward low carbon sources, but Germany is failing to meet its climate goals of reducing harmful carbon-dioxide emissions even after spending over $580 billion by 2025 to overhaul its energy systems. Germany’s emissions miss should be a “wake-up” call for governments everywhere.

Germany stepped us as a leader on climate change, by phasing out nuclear, and pioneered a system of subsidies for wind and solar that sparked a global boom in manufacturing those technologies.  

Like Germany, California’s renewables are becoming an increasing share in electricity generation, but at a HIGH COST. The emission reduction goals have increased the costs of electricity and transportation fuels and increased the already high cost of living in California and may be very contributory to California having the highest percentage of homelessness and poverty in the nation.

California households are paying about 40 percent more than the national average for electricity according to 2016 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Californians continue to pay almost $1.00 more per gallon of fuel than the rest of the country due to a) the state sales tax per gallon which are some of the highest in the country; b) refinery reformatting costs per gallon; c) cap and trade program compliance costs per gallon; d) low-carbon fuel standard program compliance costs per gallon; and e) renewable fuels standard program compliance costs per gallon.

California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 13 million gallons a day of aviation fuels. In addition, for the 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline.  All that “expensive” fuel is a heavy cost to consumers.

Despite higher energy bills, public opinion has remained supportive of the energy transition and the strategy to cut emissions. That support is apt to shift when politicians resolve the debate about how their targets match reality. Either they will have to abandon the goals and live with more pollution than they’ve promised, or they will have to force through painful and expensive measures that further limit emissions.

Germany, like California, is also trying to phase out nuclear reactors. California has already shutdown the 24/7 nuclear generating facility of SCE’s San Onofre (SONGS) which generated 2,200 megawatts of power that closed in 2013, and will be closing PG&E’s Diablo Canyon’s 2,160 megawatts of power in 2024.

Shutting down nuclear plants is leaving California, like Germany, short of 24/7 generation plants that can work on the breezeless and dark days when wind farms and solar plants won’t provide much to the grid—and demand is at its peak. Yet to be determined is the impact on rate payers? Will there be more reliance in California placed on fossil fuels for 24/7 power?

Germany’s economy, like California’s, is dominated by services that require less energy and produce less carbon than places tilted toward industry and manufacturing. Thus, less emissions to micromanage cost effectively reduce. California is a miniscule contributor to the world’s greenhouse gases. Statistically, the World is generating about 46,000 million metric tons of GHG’s, while California has been generating about 429 million metric tons, which is less than one percent of the world’s contributions. Germany’s contributions are about 905 million metric tons, which is about two percent of the world’s contributions.

Germany’s failed climate goals is an ominous wake-up call for California and governments everywhere struggling to reach their own targets. The result is a puzzle for politicians. Enacted legislation to make sure climate targets are hit, including stringent rules governing energy use, and new building codes to make buildings carbon neutral, and utility bill charges that subsidize investment in green energy, are all resulting in higher energy costs to consumers.

ounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Trump officials open door to fracking in California

fracking oil gasThe Trump administration is starting the process of opening up large swaths of land in California to hydraulic fracturing.

In a notice issued Wednesday to the Federal Register, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said it intends to analyze the impact of hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, on publicly owned land throughout the state.

The area in question spans 400,000 acres of public land and 1.2 million acres of federal mineral estates throughout a number of California counties including Fresno, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The notice of intent says BLM will begin the scoping process for a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, which will determine the effects of fracking on the environment. Fracking is a technology used to release oil and gas from land. The administration’s intent is to eventually open up public land to new lease sales.

The announcement follows a 2017 lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity. That lawsuit challenged a 2015 attempt by the federal government to finalize a resource management plan that acknowledged fracking. In its settlement, BLM promised that it would first provide an environmental impact statement before considering fracking. …

Click here to read the full article from The Hill

Californians Have Paid Dearly for the Micromanagement of Emissions and Renewable Energy

Wind Turbines Power EnergyLooking back, California’s flagship climate change policy Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Initiative was signed into law in 2006 when California was a minuscule contributor to the world’s greenhouse gases. Statistically, the World is generating about 46,000 million metric tons of GHG’s, while California has been generating about 440 million metric tons, which is less than one percent of the world’s contributions.

Today, we’re constantly being bombarded with reminders and progress reports toward achieving California’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, and an 80% reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.

Now, more than a decade since the passage of AB32, California remains as the most environmentally regulated location in the world, yet California still contributes a miniscule one percent, and has had little to no impact on the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Very often, when our political leaders are confronted with the facts that California is one of the most business unfriendly states in the union, our politicians often reply, “yes, but we’ve got great weather”.  Well, they’re right, California has the best year round weather in the nation and that has lead us to become the 6th largest economy in the world.

With a robust economy, the good news is that we can “afford” to micromanage almost anything, but the bad news is that the costs associated with micromanagement are being born by the rich and poor and has contributed to California having the largest homeless and poverty population percentages in the nation to compliment the robust economy.

California is an “energy island” to its almost 40 million citizens, bordered between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada Mountains whose 35 million registered vehicles of which 90 percent are NOT EV’s are consuming DAILY: 10 million gallons a day of diesel and 42 million gallons a day of gasoline.  In addition, the state’s daily need to support its 145 airports (inclusive of 33 military, 10 major, and more than 100 general aviation) is 10 million gallons a day of aviation fuels.

No other State or Country has the stringent environmental regulations as California to keep greenhouse gas emissions in the world to a minimum, thus it’s imperative that California continue to promote in-state manufacturing of the chemicals and by-products, and aviation, diesel and gasoline fuels manufactured from crude oil on the California energy island. All those products from crude oil supports the military and all the California infrastructures, which are the basis of the prosperity of our growing population.

The renewable sectors of wind and solar, like every other infrastructure, are dependent on the products manufactured out of crude oil for all their components so they can produce emission free intermittent electricity.

With all the world’s efforts to protect life, United States wind farms are “legally” killing hundreds of thousands of birds, eagles, hawks, and bats every year, and it’s appalling that society has given the wind industry a FREE get-out-of-jail card!

Bald and golden eagles are not endangered species anymore but are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The bald eagle population is growing, while the golden eagle populations is declining.

In 2017, the Obama administration finalized a rule that lets wind-energy companies operate high-speed turbines for up to 30 years — even if means killing or injuring thousands of federally protected bald and golden eagles. Under the new rule, wind farms may acquire an eagle “take” permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) that allows the site to participate in nationwide killing of up to 4,200 bald eagles annually, under incidental “take” permits without compensatory mitigation. If they exceed their eagle “take”, there are adaptive management measures designed for each project, that often include reducing operational hours if deemed necessary to reduce risk.

It’s appalling that wind farms can legally obtain permits from the USFWS to kill those majestic bald eagles.

The public, especially the homeless and poverty populations that have paid dearly for the micromanagement of our emissions and renewables, deserves to know the costs being incurred to reduce our minuscule contributions to the world’s greenhouse gases, and as a courtesy to provide emission free intermittent electricity, share with the public the total estimated impacts of all birds taken that are reported to the USFWS.

ounder of PTS Staffing Solutions, a technical staffing agency headquartered in Irvine.

California revives 100% carbon-free energy bill

California lawmakers revived a long-stalled proposal on Tuesday to set a goal of generating 100 percent of the state’s energy from carbon-free sources.

With other controversial and high-stakes energy legislation also moving forward, California lawmakers face an array of decisions with vast implications for the Western energy grid, the future of renewable power and consumers’ electric bills.

A state legislative committee sent the 100 percent clean energy bill to the full Assembly, setting up a vote later this year.

The bill’s revival is a tentative victory for its author, Democratic Sen. Kevin de Leon, who is waging an uphill battle to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in the November election. …

Click here to read the full article from KCRA News

Solar Panel Mandate Displaces 150,000 Home Buyers

Solar panelsWhile Democrats in the state Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown debate how to spend our state’s budget surplus, they continue to push policies that bust the budgets of ordinary California families.

The California Energy Commission’s mandate that all new homes in California include a minimum $10,000 solar panel system is the latest such attack. With this mandate, the governor’s hand-picked commission has priced out 150,000 California homebuyers.

Why? Because the National Association of Home Builders says that for every $1,000 increase in the price of a home, 15,000 buyers are priced out of the market. So this one action by the Energy Commission will shut out 150,000 Californians from buying a home.

And even that $10,000 is a shameful government fiction. New solar arrays average more than $19,000 in California now, and larger homes could cost double that. California’s “solar tax” could be forcing hundreds of thousands of people into a permanent renter class and barring the door to the American Dream.

With the new gas-tax forcing prices up toward $4 a gallon, “cap-and-trade” taxes pushing electricity rates 50-percent higher than the national average, and the cost of renting or buying a home continuing to spiral out of control, the once Golden State now is home to a quarter of the nation’s homeless population – 134,000 people who can’t afford to have a roof over their heads – solar or not.

This isn’t how our government is supposed to work. Your state and local representative is supposed to figure out ways to make life better for their community, not come up with umpteen-hundred ways to see just how much more money they can pluck from your wallet.

The solar panel mandate is just one more example of the Democrats’ endless experiments in social engineering.

You deserve better than this.

State Senator Ted Gaines represents the people of the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties. He currently serves as the vice chair of the Senate Insurance and Environmental Quality Committees. He is also a member of the Transportation and Housing and the Governmental Organization Committees.

 

Californians Deserve Climate Policies That People Can Actually Afford

Ivanpah solar energyIn a recently published interview, Paul Hawken, an environmentalist, and Executive Director of Project Drawdown, a global coalition of researchers, scientists, and economists that models the impacts of global warming, made a spot-on observation about the pitfalls of seeking a simple, single solution to climate change.

Hawken observed that “people who are earnestly guiding us to climatic stability have not done the math.” Instead, he says “sincere, well-meaning people profess their beliefs.”

Nowhere is this truer than in California. In recent years, policymakers have increasingly aligned with advocacy groups pushing for one-track solutions to climate change, like 100 percent renewable electricity or all-electric buildings.

Two weeks ago, Assembly Bill 3232 – legislation that aims to electrify homes and businesses in the state – passed through the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee with little fanfare.

There is a certain seductive simplicity to many of the single solutions aimed at addressing climate change. But, the math just doesn’t work. Moreover, the single solution policies that advocacy groups like Sierra Club are churning into new laws don’t take into account important considerations like affordability and the preferences of Californians.

Take 100 percent renewable electricity, for example. A recent Black and Veatch analysis showed 100 percent renewable electricity could cost California $3 trillion and require 900 square miles of solar panels and another 900 square miles of depletable and unrenewable battery storage.

That’s an area almost four times the size of the City of Los Angeles dedicated to disposable batteries and solar panels. For the price tag, you could buy Apple and have $2 trillion left over, eliminate a sizeable chunk of the US federal debt, or pay for private college tuition for about 25 million high school seniors.

AB 3232 seeks to move California toward another one-track solution – all electric buildings. A report released earlier this month by the California Building Industry Association (CBIA) found that replacing natural gas in every home would cost California families up to $6 billion annually and require most buildings to undergo expensive retrofits. That’s an almost $900 increase in annual energy costs for every California family. As Hawken points out, people seeking a single solution to climate change simply haven’t done the math.

Importantly, they also haven’t considered the preferences of California’s families and businesses. A separate CBIA study recently found that only 10 percent of voters would consider purchasing an all-electric home and 80 percent oppose laws that would take away their natural gas appliances.

Does it make sense to charge Californians a lot more for something they don’t want in the first place? Moreover, would the increased burden on families and businesses address climate change?

Hawken argues that most people trying to address climate change simply don’t know what the solution is. “If you had asked every person at COP21 in Paris (us included) to name the top 10 solutions in any order, I don’t believe anyone would have gotten it even close. That is still true. After 50 years of global warming being in the public sphere, we didn’t know the top solutions to reversing it. And there’s a reason: We never measured and modeled the top solutions.”

In California, a lot of work has been done to measure and model emissions linked to climate change. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), about 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state come from the transportation sector, with heavy duty trucks being the single greatest source. Consistent with Project Drawdown’s analysis, agriculture and waste are also significant contributors in California. More than 80 percent of methane emissions in the state come from farms, dairies and landfills. In contrast, natural gas end uses in residential buildings account for about 5 percent of emissions statewide, according to CARB.

Make no mistake about it, renewable electricity will play a crucial role in reducing emissions and reversing the effects of climate change. But, if California is serious about achieving the state’s ambitious climate goals we need all options on the table, including policies that reduce emissions from transportation and investments in technology that capture methane from farms and landfills for use as affordable and renewable energy.

Doing the math shows us that California needs a balanced strategy – one that achieves climate goals, but considers the impacts on families and businesses. Affordability and choice matter.

resident & Chief Operating Officer for Southern California Gas Co.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

California’s Unsustainable Energy Policies

 

Solar panelsGlowing tributes to Gov. Jerry Brown’s environmental legacy obscure how long California has been proclaiming itself the leader in fighting “climate change.” The crusade began with Brown’s predecessor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who promoted and signed the “Global Warming Solutions Act” in 2006, setting initial targets for greenhouse-gas reduction and empowering the California Air Resources Board to enforce compliance with laws and regulations aimed at achieving these goals. Other significant legislation followed. Senate Bill 107, also passed in 2006, mandated a “renewable portfolio standard,” wherein at least 20 percent of California’s electricity would come from renewable sources by 2010. In 2008, the landmark Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act directed cities and counties to increase the housing density of their communities.

When Brown took over as governor in 2011, major environmental legislation accelerated. A 2011 law raised the renewable-portfolio standard to 33 percent by 2020; another, passed in 2015, pushed the standard to 50 percent by 2030. In 2016, California set a greenhouse-gas emission-reduction target of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and extended its “cap-and-trade” program to 2030. This is just a partial list. High-speed rail, water rationing, “urban-containment” policies, a virtual prohibition on conventional energy development, retrofit mandates for trucks and dwellings, and much more have come down from Sacramento in an attempt to “address climate change.”

Will any of it work? Is California setting an example that the world can follow?

The short answer: no. Renewables alone cannot power the global economy. The latest data on global energy consumption by source show how dependent the world remains on fossil fuels. In 2015, oil supplied 33 percent of all energy consumed globally, with coal accounting for 29 percent and natural gas 24 percent—adding up to 86 percent of all energy consumed. Hydro-electric power added another 7 percent and nuclear power 4 percent. Renewables—primarily wind and solar power—contributed the remaining 3 percent. Even tripling renewable capacity would scarcely affect the primacy of fossil fuel to the world’s economy. Moreover, renewables are not “greener” than conventional energy, particularly if conventional energy is produced using the cleanest technologies available. If all the governments on earth enforced on their people the experiment that California is committed to, the result would be the collapse of civilization.

Back in the 1990s, before environmentalism had become so politically divisive, the Worldwatch Institute published one of the most reputable environmentalist journals, in which the organization consistently advocated for methane (natural gas) as the “transitional fuel” to power the global economy until breakthrough technologies such as fusion power or satellite solar power stations became commercially viable. More recently, environmental activists such as Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore have championed nuclear power as an essential component of our energy future. No place on earth is more capable of developing clean fossil fuel and nuclear power than California. A 2012 report for the Congressional Research Service estimated that California offshore areas contain 10.13 billion barrels of oil and 11.73 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Onshore, the state boasts the Monterey shale, which may contain upward of another 15 billion barrels of oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Recommissioning and expanding California’s San Onofre nuclear power station and retaining the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility could easily provide five gigawatts of baseload electricity—enough to keep millions of electric vehicles on the road.

Similarly, no place is more capable than California of developing abundant water resources—though the state’s wrongheaded policies have helped create chronic water shortages. California still boasts the most elaborate system of inter-basin water transfers in the world. Upgrading water storage by, for example, raising the height of the Shasta Dam could allow Californians to collect additional millions of acre feet of storm runoff each year. And if California embraced state-of-the-art desalination technology, additional millions of acre-feet could supply arid Southern California cities along the coast, where most Californians reside.

In short, California has a choice to make: it can impoverish its population by creating an artificial scarcity of land, energy, and water, enforcing draconian restrictions on development in the name of fighting climate change. Or it can face reality and become a pioneer in a new age of clean-energy development. If the Golden State chooses the second course, it will create a viable example for the world to follow.

Edward Ring co-founded the California Policy Center in 2010 and served as its president through 2016. This article originally appeared in City Journal.

California is Missing Out on Transforming the State

fracking oil gasHardline energy policies against fossil fuel exploration and production (E&P) originating from Sacramento are causing California citizens and taxpayers to miss the boom coming from United States (US) shale production taking place in Texas, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Colorado that has forced OPEC to raise crude supply forecasts for 2018. California could use this economic growth from shale E&P since our GDP growth rate has slipped to 35th in the nation.

Moreover, Los Angeles now ranks as having the worst traffic congestion in the world, California is possibly in another drought according to the New York Times, and The Stanford Pension Institute says, “that CalPERS has a $1.4 trillion unfunded liability.” These could be some of the reasons why more people are migrating out of California – even beautiful San Francisco isn’t immune to net migration – and regulations are also making it tougher to grow the economy, hire workers and bring tax relief to the middle class.

But there is hope for California that energy E&P could pave the way to relieve many of these problems along with upgrading our outdated infrastructure, older schools, and overreliance on wealthy taxpayers to fund a majority of the state budget.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the United States (US) will surpass Saudi Arabia and Russia with record oil production topping over 10 million barrels a day (mbp) while approaching 11mbp faster than analysts expected. This type of energy production hasn’t been seen since the Nixon administration. Daniel Yergin, economic historian and author of The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Powerstates:

“This is a 180-degree turn for the United States and the impacts are being felt around the world. This not only contributes to U.S. energy security but also contributes to world energy security by bringing new supplies to the world.”

Shockingly, the US Census Bureau in early February reported that the US exported roughly 700,000 barrels of light domestic crude in December 2017 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The EIA iterated the significance by pointing out the UAE is the fourth-largest OPEC producer and first time importer of US oil. The US net oil imports now hover near 3 mbp, whereas in 2006 the US imported over 12 mbp.

The EIA reports that by 2022 the US “will become a net petroleum exporter from rising crude exports and overseas sales of refined petroleum products such as gasoline. This new reality has the Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2018 confident that America will be the world’s leader in oil and natural gas E&P by the end of this year.

For California, the untapped, unexplored Monterrey Shale and Pacific Ocean could hold trillions in new revenues and economic activity. The question is will voters and elected officials understand the significance of wise, regulated energy exploration in one of the largest shale plays and ocean reserves in the world? If Texas, North Dakota and Pennsylvania can figure out reasonable E&P then California’s technological giants based in Silicon Valley and universities like Cal-Tech can certainly come up with best practices to ensure environmental safety while growing California’s economy.

Many critics like the Post Carbon Institute’s new report, “Shale Reality Check,” question the sustainability, long-term production prospects and viability of US shale. But are critics like the Post Carbon Institute missing an opportunity to diminish the force of the modern petro-state led by OPEC that in the past has crippled California’s economy and caused our Marines based in Camp Pendleton to be deployed overseas to fight in their never-ending, expensive wars?

For decades American, western and Asian diplomats have tiptoed around Middle Easter nations – particularly, Saudi Arabia – since they needed vital oil and natural gas for continued economic growth. But the US no longer needs as much Middle Eastern oil. This will make it tougher for OPEC to agree on production guidelines that raise prices at the pump while limiting Russia’s foreign policy that relies on the weaponization of state-run oil giants to fund their geopolitical adventures.

In late 2014 it seemed America’s oil independence was a pipedream and the Saudi’s would force America into renewable energy when they targeted shale drillers for elimination by flooding world markets with new supply. Throughout this Saudi-led war on US shale, bankruptcies overtook the Texas Permian Basin and Bakken Formation in North Dakota; production also fell in the US from 9.6 mbp to 8.5 mbp. Shale companies though never declared defeat; instead, they slashed costs, employed automation and adopted cutting edge technology (robotics, sensors, smart phones) to keep drilling. There is no reason why California can’t be the leader in these technologies, E&P and oilfield services.

West Texas intermediate crude is now in the 60s and the US is supplying China and India while causing the Saudis to now try and invest in US shale properties. Taking aim at Russia – a California priority after the 2016 elections – is taking place since the US is now a major exporter of natural gas and can “undercut Russian energy dominance over Eastern Europe.” The US is now able to withstand political turmoil in Venezuela, Libya and Nigeria – all major OPEC suppliers – when historically supply disruptions would have risked global growth. California now doesn’t have to concern itself as much with unstable countries and regions as we have for decades.

Jason Bordoff, founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and former Obama administration energy official speaks about this new geopolitical reality:

“For the last 40 years, since the Arab oil embargo, we’ve had a mindset of energy scarcity, but as a result of the shale revolution, the U.S. has emerged as an energy superpower.”

This new reality also means China, Japan and Southeast Asia have become more dependent on the US and potentially California than on the Middle East. The US and California can now argue the global order they have ensured should become a shared burden financially and militarily.

These are good problems for California to have, and when energy independence was only a dream in the 70s over the Arab oil embargo now fossil fuel superiority can bring California benefits for everyone in our state and the US. Energy accomplishments that bring economic freedom should be celebrated; and the geopolitical advantages that America and now California enjoy from shale drillers reshaping global energy markets could bring us decades of prosperity if only we will take advantage of them.

 is an independent public policy consultant focusing on the geopolitical implications of energy based in Los Angeles, California.

This article was originally published by Fox and Hounds Daily

Why California Senate leader’s 100% renewable energy bill failed

kevin de leon 2From pioneering air-pollution control programs in Los Angeles County in the 1940s to setting nationally copied standards on fuel efficiency and emissions to the 2006 passage of AB32, the state’s landmark anti-global warming law, California has long been proud of its role as a global leader in environmentalism.

So when Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León introduced Senate Bill 100 in January, the expectations were high. The measure committed California to generating 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2026 – four years earlier than the present goal – and to 60 percent by 2030 and to 100 percent by 2045. No government remotely as large as California’s had made such a commitment.

In spring interviews with a reporters at an energy conference in Orange County, the Los Angeles Democrat depicted his bill as a common-sense measure to goad investor-owned utilities into making long-term shifts in their infrastructure to prepare for an all-renewable future. He said progress had been so quick that he expected the state to meet the 50 percent renewable standard “in the early 2020s without breaking a sweat.” But he also depicted SB100 as setting up “the most ambitious program in the world.”

When it passed the California Senate on a mostly party-line vote in May, the world took notice. The New York Times set the tone: In a 2,100-word analysis headlined “Fighting Trump on Climate, California Becomes a Global Force,” it depicted the bill as a key part of California’s determination to take over the global lead in environmentalism from Washington.

But earlier this month, SB100 failed to even get a floor vote in the Assembly as lawmakers wrapped up business for the year. A Desert Sun report depicted the decision as “unexpected.”

That’s not how it looked to some insiders. Business groups spent months hammering home the argument that it was risky to commit to 100 percent renewable energy use when it was not clear that was either feasible or safe for a modern economy. In a June interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gary Ackerman, executive director of the Western Power Trading Forum, depicted SB100 as “reckless” and with a huge downside. The arguments echoed those made by Pacific Gas & Electric, Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, the state’s three giant investor-owner utilities, which quietly have established strong ties with Democratic lawmakers in poor districts buffeted by high energy costs.

IBEW adopted, modified utilities’ argument

Meanwhile, de León didn’t enjoy unified support on the Democratic front. An argument the utilities had been making – that SB100 was potentially a hugely disruptive force – was adopted and modified by some labor leaders. They worried what a 100 percent commitment to renewable energy might mean for thousands of union members. According to an NBC News report, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245, began opposing the bill in late summer because the local union alleged de León had gone back on his promise to protect union jobs.

But a third factor may also have been at play. De León has never enjoyed the broad goodwill accorded his predecessor, Darrell Steinberg, now the mayor of Sacramento. Soon after taking over as Senate leader in late 2014, de León was the target of a scathing column by then-Sacramento Bee pundit Dan Walters for mistakes, power plays and a lack of humility. He faced similar criticism from the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board.

De León has since emerged as a legislative powerhouse, at least according to the conventional wisdom that holds that the 2017 session was one of the most productive in recent history. But his clout couldn’t overcome the late-emerging opposition to SB100.

The lobbying will begin all over again for the measure in January, the Greentech website reported.

“We’re going to be back next year,” said Peter Miller, Western energy project director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the website. “I don’t want to underestimate the challenges to moving to a fully zero-carbon grid, but we can get there, and we will.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com