California Passes the Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015

The Clean Energy and Pollution Reduction Act of 2015 (SB 350) was passed and enrolled on September 11th, 2015. The focus of SB 350 is to increase California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and the state’s energy efficiency in existing buildings by 50% by 2030.

By increasing California’s RPS and energy efficiency in buildings, the state hopes to create jobs, grow the economy and improve public health.

California’s latest Renewable Portfolio Standard will require its electricity supply companies to produce 50% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. California’s 2011 RPS, SB 2-1x Chapter 1, had required companies to increase RPS to 33% by 2020. With most energy utilities companies well on their way to that target, senators sought to increase that standard with SB 350. California’s RPS has already created hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities, millions in investment and tax dollars and significant environmental improvements. In 2014, renewable power generation costs were as cheap or cheaper than coal, oil and gas fired power plants. Much of the lower costs of renewable power have been a result of solar cells, which have seen a 75% reduction in cost in the last 6 years (IREA). In the past, greenhouse gas emissions have trended with GDP, the graph below shows a decoupling of this tendency in the state of California.

http://focus.senate.ca.gov/climate

The second section of SB 350 focuses of improving energy efficiency in existing buildings. This improvement would generate a substantial reduction in HVAC and other building operating costs, save hundreds of millions of gallons of water per year as well as preventing hundreds of millions of tons of green house gas emissions per year (CCL). Previous bills have implemented energy standards for new buildings, but had not included existing buildings in their language. SB 350 will hold existing buildings to similar standards as new buildings, while giving the state more authority to ensure that the standards are implemented.

As California enters its fourth year of drought, the state has seen firsthand the necessity of changes in its energy and pollution standards.  This year alone, over 5,000 fires have burned six million acres. Water shortages have affected much of the population, especially farmers and ranchers. It is as clear as ever that the state must make drastic changes to combat the causes of the warming climate. While a third segment of the proposed bill, a 50% reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks, was removed, California continues to make historic strides to increase the use of renewable energy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

EBI Consulting’s Energy and Sustainability group provides the services necessary for businesses to achieve this new standard. From the design and construction phase of new buildings, to LEED certification for existing buildings, to energy audits, EBI’s energy and sustainability group can provide you with a comprehensive approach to energy management. Our experience extends to several industries and building types, especially higher education, government, healthcare, industrial, and corporate settings.

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