Jenn Engstrom,

Special interests dim opportunity for California to commit to 100% clean electricity

Students plan to keep up the fight on their campuses
Immediate Release

SACRAMENTO – Despite overwhelming support from 76 percent of its constituents, the California State Assembly yesterday deferred a vote on the landmark Senate Bill 100, which would have committed the state to generating 100% of its electricity from renewable and zero-carbon sources by 2045. Defying both what’s best for California and the will of the people, utility companies and electrical unions succeeded in their last-minute ploy to push the bill to next year’s legislative session.

“We’re disappointed that special interests short-circuited the opportunity to pass SB 100 Friday,” said Jamie Kennerk, Chair of CALPIRG Students. “Californians are demanding a cleaner, healthier future. We thank Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León for authoring SB 100 and we'll keep building the momentum needed to pass the bill in January.”

Kennerk and CALPIRG students have worked to build support for SB 100 since last spring. The statewide student organization with chapters at 8 UC campuses has educated 30,000 students in classrooms, collected over 8,000 petitions, held several press conferences and held two lobby days with dozens of students at the Capitol. And in the finals days they hit the phones and generated hundreds phone calls into State Assembly offices.

Tim Hughes is the Chair of the CALPIRG chapter at UC Riverside. “We’re disappointed SB 100 didn’t pass this legislative session but at the same time proud of the work that we did building support and we plan to work hard come January to make it happen,” said Hughes.

Many other campus groups also got involved in this fight for clean energy. CALPIRG Students organized a letter of over 100 student leaders across the state in support of SB 100 for 100% clean energy. The list includes leaders from a wide range of student organizations from political and environmental groups to cultural and professional groups. The full list of student leaders signed on can be found here.

Rigel Robinson, External Affairs Vice President for the Associated Students of UC Berkeley has made the push for 100% clean energy one of his priorities this year. “California has vast renewable energy resources – enough to meet our needs many times over,” said Robinson. “Renewable energy is good for our health, safety, and is becoming more and more affordable. Between 2009 and 2014, the cost of solar electricity in the United States fell by 78 percent and the cost of wind energy dropped 58 percent. This is the future.”

Going forward, Robinson and CALPIRG Students will keep pushing for 100% clean energy at the state level but also work to get the UC campuses to make similar commitments.

Kol Chaiken, Chair of CALPIRG at UC San Diego is driving the effort for 100% clean energy UCs on her campus. “As innovative research institutions filled with the state’s next generation of leaders, we think it would be huge for the momentum of the clean energy future for the University of California to lead the way and set visionary commitments for clean energy,” said Chaiken. “This upcoming quarter we plan to collect petitions, outreach the media, engage student organizations and faculty, and show our Chancellor there is support for 100% clean energy here at UCSD.”

“I’m upset that special interests were able to push back SB 100 to the next legislative session,” continued Chaiken,” But they can’t stop the undeniable movement toward renewable energy. Clean energy is the future.”