by Katy Grimes
As Appearing in the California Globe
Instead of spending on infrastructure, PG&E is spending $2.4 billion annually on a legislative mandate to buy renewable power
Two California lawmakers announced they will introduce legislation to help prevent future wildfires and Public Safety Power Shutoffs by PG&E, but Democrats are already giving a thumbs-down to the plan.
Senator Jim Nielsen (R-Tehama) and Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), who represent the town of Paradise and Camp Fire survivors, are authoring legislation to direct additional funding into utility infrastructure upgrades and forest fuel reduction projects by temporarily discontinuing the state’s renewable energy mandates until infrastructure and vegetation management conditions are improved.
In a California Globe interview, Assemblyman Gallagher said it’s clear that more money must be put into the energy company’s infrastructure. “Number one, we’ve already reached the first renewable mandate of 33%, due by 2020,” Gallagher said, referencing the 2011 Renewables Portfolio Standard which required 33% renewable energy in all electricity provided in California. “PG&E is at 39% renewables. If we just look at non-carbon energy, PG&E is producing 85% of its power from renewable and carbon-free sources.”
“We’ve already done a lot,” Gallagher said. “But we’re getting killed by the wildfires – literally.” He said 85 people died last year in the Camp Fire in Paradise, and many more lost their properties. “… the result of outdated infrastructure.”