Proposition 7, titled The Solar and Clean Energy Act, is largely sponsored and backed by Jim Gonzalez, a former San Francisco county supervisor (appointed by then-Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1986), and Peter Sperling, the son of the billionaire who founded Pheonix University.
The proposed law's text states that its intent is to accomplish the following:
- Address global warming and climate change, and protect the endangered Sierra snowpack by reducing California's carbon-based greenhouse gas emissions.
- Tap proven technologies such as solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and small hydroelectric to generate clean energy throughout California and meet renewable energy targets without raising taxes on any California taxpayer
- Require all California utilities-including government-owned utilities like the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power-to procure electricity from solar and clean energy resources, in the following timeframes: 20 percent by 2010; 40 percent by 2020; and, 50 percent by 2025
- Fast-track all approvals for the development of solar and clean energy plants and related transmission facilities while guaranteeing all environmental protections — including the Desert Protection Act
- Create production incentives for the development and construction of solar and clean energy plants and related transmission facilities
- Permit long-term 20 year contracts for solar and clean energy to assure marketability and financing of solar and clean energy plants
- Assess penalties upon all utilities that fail to meet renewable resource targets, and prohibit these utilities from passing on these penalties to consumers
- Cap price impacts on consumers' electricity bills at less than 3 percent
- Grant the Public Utilities Commission the powers to enforce compliance of the renewables portfolio standard upon privately owned utilities, assess penalties for non-compliance, and prohibit utilities from passing on penalties to consumers
- Grant the California State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission (the Energy Commission) the powers to: Enforce compliance of the renewables portfolio standard upon government-owned utilities, assess penalties to those utilities for non-compliance, and prohibit the utilities from passing on penalties to consumers; adopt rules to fast-track all approvals for the development of solar and clean energy resources and plants while guaranteeing all environmental protections — including the Desert Protection Act; allocate funds to purchase, sell, or lease real property, personal property or rights-of-way for the development and use of the property and rights-of-way for the generation and/or transmission of solar and clean energy, and to upgrade existing transmission lines; and, identify and designate Solar and Clean Energy Zones — primarily in the desert.
The Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that there would be at least $3.4 million in added costs as a result of Proposition 7 because of increased administrative responsibilities that the law would add to the Energy Commission.
The LAO estimates that an increase in short-term electricity rates as a result of Proposition 7 would be likely, with "unknown" further long-term costs.
Campaign contributions database (Secretary of State website)
Public Opinon Resources
Survey USA poll
September 25, 2008
Ballotpedia entry on Prop 7
Pros & Cons (League of Women Voters
Reports and Studies
California’s Proposition 7: An Analysis
By Stephen Weisman, California Center for Environmental Law and Policy, October 2008
Audio and Video
Center for Governmental Studies