California Widens Its Lead on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

  September 24, 2015

As Congress continues to dither about a national energy policy, California has again taken the lead, passing two recent laws that dramatically up the ante on its environmental leadership.

Assembly Bill 802 expands the state’s existing benchmark law to extend to multifamily, allows for incentives to bring buildings up to California efficiency standards, and provides provisions to make it easier for building owners to access energy data. According to Cliff Majersik, executive director of the Institute for Market Transformation, AB 802 “takes an important step forward in unlocking access to building performance data and the vast opportunities associated with better knowledge about how our buildings operate.”

Secondly, AB 350 increases California’s renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030 – this means, by 2030, California must generate 50 percent of its energy from renewable sources. According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, California is already No. 1 in the U.S. in solar capacity with 11 GW installed, and this new goal will only pave the way for further increases in solar installations. According to Sean Gallager, SEIA’s vice president of state affairs, “The passage of SB 350 is a huge win for Californians and solar power is going to be key in making this win a reality. The industry, in response to the State’s current RPS, and other leading California policies like net metering, has produced nearly 55,000 solar jobs in California and more than $11 billion a year in state investment, all while achieving dramatic cost reductions.”

So it’s exciting times for managers of high-performance buildings in California. The state continues to lead and provide a model for energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction for the rest of the country.


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