August 30, 2011

California pushes wind and geothermal energy

By NICK MCCANN, Courthouse News Service, 29 August 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law Monday that will help to accelerate the creation of wind and geothermal energy projects in the San Joaquin Valley.
The law, introduced by Assemblyman Manuel Peréz (D-Coachella), adds wind and geothermal projects to the state’s Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which previously only included solar energy.
The law will expand the Fish and Game Department’s ability to take action to protect or restore the habitat of wildlife threatened by the construction of wind and geothermal power plants in the Mojave and Colorado Deserts.
The Department of Fish and Game can offer project developers mitigation fees for their projects, rather than going through the traditional permitting process. Those fees would be used to restore the habitats of species affected by the project.
The law also authorizes the state Energy Commission to grant up to $7 million to Southern California counties to revise their zoning ordinances in a way that encourages alternative energy projects.
The goal, Peréz said, is to help speed up the construction of alternative energy projects.
“By expediting renewable energy permitting and siting processes, we can achieve our state’s renewable energy goals and create jobs in California,” Pérez said in a statement. “Smart policy choices such as this new law will help encourage a climate that spurs business investment and innovation and promotes a sustainable economic recovery.”

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