The California Legislature failed last week to pass S.B. 722, a bill that would have required all utilities to obtain at least 33% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The bill passed the Assembly, but the State Senate ran out of time before the legislative session ended on Aug. 31.

The bill’s failure to pass means that California will continue to require the state’s investor-owned utilities—Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric Co.—to abide by the current renewable portfolio standard (RPS) and get 20% of their power from renewables by 2010. None of the utilities will be able to meet that mandate, however, which will likely activate extending the standard to 2013.

Efforts by the utilities to reach the 20% mandate have been reportedly hampered by difficulties to procure funding and permits for renewable projects, as well as construction of new transmission lines to take power from the projects to the grid.

California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose term is drawing to a close, could reportedly still call a special session of the legislature to get the 33% mandate passed. The mandate was one of the governor’s key initiatives, along with A.B. 32, carbon regulation, already passed by the state. A contender for Schwarzenegger’s office, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, is against both measures.

Sources: POWERnews, CPUC