California lawmakers push clean energy agenda

Flanked by solar energy business people and investors, legislative Democrats announced Wednesday that they're resurrecting a bill to require utilities to buy at least 33 percent of California's electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

Legislators presented the proposal along with related measures as a pro-business effort to help create jobs.

"The budget is and remains our top priority," said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento. But, "we must also continue to provide state and national leadership in our ongoing efforts to strengthen California's economy by supporting emerging industries, improving public education and creating jobs for Californians."

Two other measures described at the Capitol press conference would expedite permits for renewable energy projects, and create a curriculum for "green partnership academies" that use grants to provide students with skills to enter renewable-energy jobs. Another bill would dedicate a portion of state ratepayer funds to loan guarantees to help homeowners and business owners install energy-efficient technology.

"Every person in the state recognizes that the natural home for those promising industries needs to be California," Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles, said.

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