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California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has announced that the proponent of two renewable energy initiatives, Jim Gonzalez, may begin collecting petition signatures for his measures.

Both initiatives would require all utilities, including government-owned utilities, to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable only to private electrical corporations. In addition, it would raise requirements for all utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025, impose penalties for noncompliance, fast-track approval for new renewable energy plants, require utilities to sign longer contracts (20-year minimum) to procure renewable energy, and create solar and clean energy transmission accounts to purchase property or rights of way for renewable energy.

Gonzalez must collect the signatures of 433,971 registered voters - the number equal to 5% of the total votes cast for governor in the 2006 gubernatorial election - for each measure, in order to qualify it for the ballot. The proponent must collect signatures by May 12, 2008.

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