Senator Introduces Energy Ideas

California State Senator Tony Strickland introduced a range of ideas on energy this month in Carpinteria, just outside Santa Barbara.

Strickland has stated his intention
to work across party lines “to transition California to a renewable,
more energy efficient economy to jumpstart the economy, reduce our dependence
on foreign oil, improve the environment, and lower energy prices.”

Though it may be surprising
to see one congressman putting forth such a detailed and
varied plan to utilize alternative energy sources and phase out the
old, it should come as no surprise now, as Strickland is also
the VP of GreenWave Energy Solutions, a “green” interest and alternative energy company that
focuses on ocean energy. Strickland
advocates that “California must transition to a renewable, more energy-efficient
economy to jumpstart the economy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil,
improve the environment, and lower energy prices.”

Strickland, a Republican representative
of a number of cities through Los Angeles County, Ventura County and
Santa Barbara County, has been pushing for cleaner energy alternatives
through a number of new bills and suggestions. Some of Strickland’s
proposed bills include calls to support various alternative energy forms
(including geothermal, solar and wind energy), cutting red tape for
those interested in supporting alternative energies, offering tax credits
for those supporting alternative energy projects and other ideas.

Strickland’s Web site showcases
the his dedication to renewable energy sources:
“I believe California needs to transition to a renewable, more energy
efficient economy to jumpstart the economy, reduce our dependence on
foreign oil, improve the environment, and lower energy prices.”

Strickland introduced a bill on February 26 that would offer a “credit… not to exceed
$3,000, equal to 30% of the costs paid or incurred for the purchase
and installation of renewable energy resources or renewable energy resources
conversion technology projects, as provided.” This bill would only
be effective for purchases made between January 1, 2009 and December
31, 2016.

Senate Bill 534 focuses on
alternative energy sources, as generated by wind and geothermal sources.
This bill was introduced one day after SB 463, on February 27, and is
basically a way to help property owners, who install wind turbines and
geothermal pumps, from having to pay additional taxes for said additions.
It would act as an update to the tax code, in the form of a tax levy.
The description of the bill describes it as an amendment to the current
tax code, which “would provide that the classification as ‘newly
constructed’ for purposes of these constitutional provisions does
not include the construction or addition… of a small wind turbine
or geothermal heat pump system.” If approved, this bill would affect
all related additions through December 31, 2009, but not after (unless
renewed).

Senate Bill 542 is another
interesting one for those interested in alternative energies, and receiving
breaks. This bill would change the Public Resources Code, by directing
the Public Utilities Commission to expand its use of solar energy and
other efficient energy sources, and providing that energy to consumers
without significantly raising prices. The bill would give the Public
Utilities Commission until July 1 of 2010 to “develop and implement
a strategy to expand the participation of multiunit residential and
commercial rental properties in utility energy efficiency and solar
energy programs” without “result[ing] in additional ratepayer surcharges,”
funding the solar energy initiatives through programs currently in place
(ostensibly through the California Solar Initiative, and possibly other
unnamed, related programs). The goal of this bill would be to “make
energy efficiency and solar investments cost effective for utility customers
in multiunit commercial and residential rental properties.”

Now, how to implement all of this without heavily raising taxes…is an entirely different question all together.