I'm a bit suspicious that PG&E and other utilities are urging a "No" vote on Prop 7, while "three Nobel prize winning scientists" support it. So I read the thing. Opponents to Prop 7 insist that it's poorly written.
In the voter guide you can read that supporters claim the law says one thing and opponents claim it says exactly the opposite. So I decided to take one little piece of the proposed legislation and figure out who is telling the truth, figuring that exposing one lie reveals the liars. I worked on the "Facilities under 30 megawatts will be excluded" assertion. Who is right? Are these smaller plants helped or hurt by this law? Here are the pertinent excerpts. I put key phrases in bold letters:
Section 399.11(a) In order to attain the targets of generating 20 percent of total retail sales of electricity in California from eligible renewable energy resources by December 31, 2010 [and all the other targets-- I'm snipping out about 100 words here], it is the intent of the people... to implement the... Program described in this article.
Section 399.12(c) “Eligible renewable energy resource” means a solar and clean energy facility.
Then about 4 pages later comes this:
Section 25110. "Facility" means any electric transmission line, thermal power plant, or solar and clean energy plant.
And finally the truth:
Section 25137. “Solar and clean energy plant” means any electrical generating facility using wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, biomass, biogas, geothermal, fuel cells using renewable fuels, digester gas, municipal solid waste conversion, landfill gas, ocean wave, ocean thermal, or tidal current technologies, with a generating capacity of 30 megawatts or more or small hydroelectric generation of 30 megawatts or less, and any facilities appurtenant thereto.
Final analysis? Proposition 7 is written to mandate utilities to hit their energy targets from renewable energy facilities having greater than 30 megawatt generating capacity. The opponents have it right: facilities under 30 megawatts don't help the utility meet their targets. My review showed me that it's brilliantly written to gut the emerging renewable energy industry.
I guess this shows that three top scientists can't parse a legal document. I urge everyone to vote No on Prop 7.