With climate change on the California Legislature’s agenda, utilities ‘making the rounds’

By David Siders, Sacramento Bee.

Soon after Gov. Jerry Brown proposed expanding greenhouse gas reduction policies in his State of the State address, California’s influential utilities praised Brown’s agenda but moved quietly to craft a version that could be easier for them to meet.

The effort, outlined by the utilities in talks with lawmakers, state regulators and interest groups – including at a private gathering in Napa last week – focuses on a proposal by Brown to increase to 50 percent from one-third the proportion of electricity California derives from such renewable sources as wind and solar.

Instead of including the 50 percent target in the state’s existing regulatory framework, the utilities argue, California should require increased carbon reduction through other, more flexible means. They say other approaches could cost less while still achieving environmental goals.