Friday, August 10, 2018

USA, California: Legislation Would Require Utilities in the Golden State to Purchase Thousands of Megawatts of Geothermal Power

California's energy future is up for grabs. Here are the bills that could pass in the next 3 weeks. (Desert Sun)

AB 893 would require utilities to purchase thousands of megawatts of geothermal power

California could dramatically reshape its energy future in the next few weeks. In the halls of the capitol, lawmakers and lobbyists are debating bills that would bolster renewable energy sources like solar and wind, create an interstate electricity market covering much of the western U.S., make it easier for utilities to charge their customers for wildfire damages, and promote the construction of geothermal and hydroelectric power plants.

Lawmakers could pass all those bills. Or they could do nothing.

Three weeks remain until the legislative session ends August 31, and nobody knows what California's energy landscape will look like after that. The outcome could depend on high-stakes negotiations between labor unions, electric utilities, environmentalists, energy companies, local governments and ratepayer advocates — not to mention Gov. Jerry Brown, who has one last chance to advance California's climate change and renewable energy goals in the Legislature before he leaves office early next year.

Two bills are of particular interest to the desert. One of them AB 893 from Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, would require utilities to purchase thousands of megawatts of geothermal power, potentially jump-starting development of geothermal power plants at the southern end of the Salton Sea.