California Voters Reject Well Meaning But Poorly Drafted Renewable Energy Ballot Initiatives

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photo: Katie Claypool

A quick post-vote update to some of the renewable energy ballot initiatives in California: With over over a third of votes counted, approximately 60% of voters have rejected both Proposition 7 and Proposition 10. Prop 7 would have raised California’s renewable portfolio standard for utilities to 50% by 2025; while Prop 10 would have have provided funding to help offset the costs individuals would pay in purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. While both sound like laudable goals, opposition to Prop 7 spanned a spectrum ranging from utility companies themselves to environmental groups who argued that had it passed the measure—often described as well meaning (no one is arguing that more renewable energy is a bad thing) but poorly drafted—would have both raised the rates customers paid for electricity, but at the same time put small renewable energy companies out of business.

Opponents of Prop 10 said that the $5 billion in bonds that a yes vote would have authorized would simply move more money into the coffers of T. Boone Pickens' Clean Fuel Energy Corp, a natural gas fueling company that would no doubt benefit from more natural gas vehicles driving on California’s roads.

California’s current renewable portfolio standard for utilities is 20% by 2010. Utilities are expected to fall short of this goal.

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