- California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) Department of General Services signed a three-year contract with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to transition 23 state office buildings, including the Capitol, to 100% renewables-generated electricity.
- It is one of the biggest single commitments to renewable electricity in the U.S., but will impose only a $6 per MWh, or 5%, extra expense on California taxpayers. The state’s premium is 1% below SMUD’s residential premium because the state is buying bulk. Increased electricity costs will be paid by the building-occupying departments.
- The commitment follows the Brown administration’s longstanding push for climate action. Most recently, the state legislature enacted a Brown-supported 50% renewables by 2030 mandate for California’s regulated utilities.
SMUD serves some 11 million square feet of state office space in Sacramento. Another 10 state office buildings will be shifted to 100% renewables at a future date. General Services will also begin moving the 5.3 million square feet of state facilities served by other utilities in other parts of the state toward renewables.
A 2004 Schwarzenegger administration executive order required more efficiency in existing state buildings and set more environmentally-friendly standards for new state buildings. A 2014 Brown administration executive order required a 20% cut in all state departments’ water use.
SB 350, the 50% renewables mandate which also calls for a doubling of building efficiency, originated from a Brown administration executive order. The bill initially also called on the state to cut petroleum use by 50% by 2030 but oil and auto industry opposition forced lawmakers to drop that provision in order to shepherd the others to passage.
California's investor-owned utilities are well on their way to meeting the state's current 33% renewables by 2020 mandate and told Utility Dive they can meet a 50% renewables goal by 2030.