A November ballot measure to boost the amount of renewable energy generated by California utilities has attracted a wildly diverse group of opponents - from the Natural Resources Defense Council to the Democratic Party and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.Normally I'd defer to the relevant interest groups on an issue like this, but it's not obvious from the Chronicle article how much of the opposition is legit and how much is sour grapes from not being included in the process.
The measure requires all California utilities to generate at least half their power from alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass and geothermal by 2025, well above the 33 percent level Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to see by 2020. Utilities currently must reach a 20 percent goal by 2010.
The groups, many of which had been working on energy legislation for years, were never really brought into the initiative effort, said Ralph Cavanaugh of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
"There was very late consultation," he said. "We asked them last November to step back and take a look at the measure, but by then they already had a finished product."
The initiative sets up such a detailed plan for dealing with renewable energy and siting and building the new, greener power plants that it opens the way for many unintended consequences, Cavanaugh said. Even groups closely involved with renewable energy, such as the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technology, have lined up against Prop. 7.
"If you're going to legislate at the ballot box, keep it simple, don't write 70 pages," he added. "Our objection isn't to their good intentions, but to their bad initiative."
The full text of the measure can be seen here.
Note that Prop. 7 is only about 40 pages long, not 70. For comparison, Prop. 6 (changing criminal penalties) is about 30 pages long, but probably contains more words. Proposition 5 - which changes sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenders - is about 60 pages long.