A report by the Little Hoover Commission released Monday suggested that state lawmakers could face consumer blowback if they don’t get their renewable energy house in order.
The bipartisan panel that advises state lawmakers warned that if California doesn’t streamline its varied energy policies -- from reforming the cooling process for coastal power plants to mandating a third of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2020 -- rates could spike and customers would revolt.
But prices will increase in the near term regardless, the commission reported; it’s just a matter of how much. Despite claims early on that consumers could potentially pay less as renewable energy migrated into California, the report found “most agree that utility customer rates will likely rise as a result of implementing the renewable portfolio standard.”
In the long run, environmental groups and state energy officials agree that renewable energy is the way to go, provided it’s implemented carefully. Even if rates don’t go down as some thought they would, officials say the costs could be lower than they would be if California depended only on fossil fuels.