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Gatto's bill would tap roads for renewable energy

A bill by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) would take the power of the road for renewable energy.

The bill, one of many the Gov. Jerry Brown is wading through in the wake of the legislative recess, would require the California Energy Commission to explore the possibility of generating green electricity from passing cars, trucks and trains.

The legislation centers on what’s called piezoelectric technology, where censors are placed under a roadway and the vibrations produced by vehicles are converted into electricity.

Gatto said this technology is already being used in other countries.

A Japanese railway company installed censors under the floor in its Tokyo train station and uses the energy generated by pedestrians to power all of the displays in the station. There are also censors under some highways in Israel.

“Thirty years ago, who would have believed that black silicon panels left in the desert could generate solar power,” Gatto said in a written statement. “And just 10 years ago, people were incredulous when you described a Bluetooth device. This technology is very real, and it merits study.”

The measure passed the Senate with a 27-9 vote and then passed the Assembly with amendments, 56-21.

-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News

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