State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today issued the following statement following the defeat of SB 971 in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications committee:
“SB 971 would have provided substantial savings to California’s electric ratepayers without reducing the state’s environmental goals. Hydroelectric power is every bit as clean as the power generated by wind or the sun.
“I was pleased that the committee members did state they understood what the goals of the bill were and would be open to working on a new solution to this problem. As I stated in the hearing, if they were going to shut the door on me, I would just come through the window.”
SB 971 would have changed the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program by computing the renewable mandate based on a utility’s total load, less the portion generated from large hydroelectric facilities. The costs to comply with the current RPS program are amplified in areas that obtain much of their power from large hydroelectric power facilities. Utilities in the Central Valley will have to spend millions of dollars each year in order to reach RPS goals. For example, the impact to Merced Irrigation District estimates it will cost an additional $30 million over the next nine years to comply with the program, which averages to an additional $433 per customer each year.