Greening California, SB X8 34, And Our Renewable Energy Revolution
SB X8 34 is not the latest robotics model. It is a new bill from California.
SB X8 34 authored by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and signed by Governor Schwarzenegger, will help further streamline and speed up the permitting and siting process for large-scale renewable energy projects. These are the projects that will provide Californians with jobs and greater energy independence and attract investment to the Golden State.
Today, at the world’s largest operating solar plant, the NextEra Harper Lake Solar Electric Generating System (SEGS) facility in Hinkley, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joined U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to announce a new joint program to make it easier to conserve land for endangered species and for developers to build renewable energy projects in California.
“I cannot think of a more appropriate place to underscore that renewable energy is not ‘pie in the sky’ than here at the edge of the Mojave Desert where the largest solar plant in the world is generating clean, cost-efficient renewable energy for California communities,” Secretary Salazar said during a tour of the facility.
There are more than 240 proposed renewable energy projects in California that could produce nearly 70,000 MW of clean energy annually.
These proposed projects throughout the state include solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydro facilities.
In addition to touring the NextEra Harper Lake facility today in Hinkley, the Governor and Secretary Salazar toured a 250 megawatt (MW) proposed solar facility, the Abengoa Mojave Solar project. The proposed Abengoa site is seeking funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) and will create over $1 billion of capital investment and more than 1,200 jobs in the local region. The Governor’s action today will help the Abengoa project and other renewable energy projects seeking Recovery Act funding.
“Our bold and innovative vision for California has made us a pioneer in renewable energy, green jobs and environmental protection and, as a result, we are seeing an energy revolution in California,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “California now has more than 240 proposed renewable projects looking to build and create jobs. Today’s action will help speed up the process for some of these large projects to break ground this year and qualify for federal stimulus funding. By working together, we can increase renewable energy development, create thousands of jobs and preserve our state’s cherished natural resources”
To better coordinate the state’s efforts to increase renewable energy and create jobs, the Governor’s Administration will hold The Governor’s Renewable Energy Policy Conference at the University of California, Riverside on Wednesday, March 24.
SBX8 34 will ensure state regulatory agencies have the resources necessary to focus on the state’s stringent environmental review process and permit renewable energy facilities. The bill creates further efficiencies by:
- Establishing the Renewable Energy Development Fee Trust, a revolving fund that renewable energy developers can pay into through project-assessed fees determined by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG). The fees will be used for the state and its federal partners to implement project mitigation measures including purchasing private lands related to habitat restoration, and monitoring and transaction costs connected to offset impacts to biological resources from construction.
- Ensuring the needed environmental reviews occur in a timely manner by authorizing the CEC and DFG to assess application fees on projects at an amount that would fully fund dedicated staff to work exclusively on applications.
- Speeding up CEC review by allowing for the free flow of information in a more timely manner by removing communication barriers between outside state agencies and CEC commissioners.
The Governor urged the legislature to continue working to help streamline the permitting and construction of renewable energy projects throughout the state in a signing message attached to SBX8 34.
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan was also formed to create a science-based, stakeholder driven process to identify geographic areas designated for renewable energy development, and conservation and declining species management. This plan is currently scheduled to be completed in 2012 and is meant to provide a long-term road map to development and conservation in the California desert.
The following excerpt by: David Danelski, The Press-Enterprise
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his aides gathered at the graffiti-scarred ruins of an old feed and farm supply store as they waited for U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to arrive for a tour of the future solar energy site.
The crumbling building and more than 1,700 acres around it, mostly former alfalfa fields, have been acquired by Abengoa Solar, which is seeking approval to build a 250 megawatt thermal generation plant about nine miles northwest of the San Bernardino County town of Hinkley.
“It will go as far the eye can see along those transmission lines,” Scott Frier, Abengoa’s chief operating officer, said to Schwarzenegger and Salazar as he showed them a map of project site.
The governor and Salazar also visited the control center for the nearby 160 megawatt solar plant, NextEra Harper Lake Solar Electric Generating System, the largest operating solar plant in the world.