Gov. Brown signs renewable energy legislation that could mean jobs

A renewable energy bill that could push clean-energy development and green jobs in the state’s desert regions was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday

The law ABx1 13, sponsored by Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, “streamlines” the permitting process for renewable energy projects within the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, according to a press release.

The DRECP covers all Southern California and it identifies and maps areas appropriate for renewable energy development, said Andy Horne, deputy county executive officer for natural resources.

The DRECP also sets aside areas “intended” for long-term conservation, the DRECP Web site reads.

“Smart policy choices” such as this law will promote sustainable economic recovery, Pérez said.

Under the new law, wind and geothermal developers — unlike solar developers — had to wait for “big studies” and public notifications before impact fees could be established, Horne said.

Now large-scale wind and geothermal energy developers undergoing a permitting process may be able to pay pre-established “upfront” impact fees to the state, Horne said.

“From that standpoint it could be beneficial for developers,” he said.

The law also authorizes grants of up to $7 million for Imperial, Riverside and San Joaquin Valley counties, according to the release.

These funds would be used to revise plans and ordinances to “encourage local renewable energy development,” the release reads.

Funds are yet to be appropriated by the state Legislature, Horne said. “If the money does become available we (Imperial County) would certainly apply for the money.”

The grants “will go far” to facilitate the development and construction of renewable energy, Pérez said through the press release.

Yet, it’s still too early to know how much impact the law will have, Horne said.


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