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Senator Introduces Energy Ideas

by Susannah Kopecky, published

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 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.

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