A unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) puts energy efficiency first in the state's quest to meet energy demand.
CPUC voted to strengthen the "loading order" in California's clean energy policy, which creates a priority list for electricity sources.
After using energy efficiency, utilities must prioritize renewable energy to meet demand. The state can then turn to fossil fuel plants to meet remaining demand.
Strengthening the law means that utilities will no longer "rest" after meeting the state's minimum Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which requires them to get 33% of electricity from renewables by 2020 (the highest in the nation).
"While hitting a target for energy efficiency or demand response may satisfy other obligations of the utility, that does not constitute a ceiling on those resources for purposes of procurement," CPUC wrote in its decision.