Forget Texas. I'm ready for my home state of California to secede from the Union. When it comes to energy policy, we essentially already have.
While the TeaBagger nuts grab the headlines and set the national discourse, California keeps zipping along its path that will lead to greater economic prosperity and a clean future for our kids. Or better yet -- a future, period.
We were doing well even under a Republican governor with his support of AB23, the most progressive climate law of any state. Not to mention, the Governator wrote a great last article on the topic (I think he was vying to be 'climate czar' for Obama at the time).
But as you would imagine, things are speeding up under Brown. More below the fold.
State Senator Joe Simitian finally got his law passed and signed by Gov. Brown to increase California's use of renewable energy for its electricity to a third by 2020. An excerpt from Joe's article on the achievement:
While a new Congress covers its ears and shuts its eyes to global warming, power-plant pollution and turmoil in the oil markets, California has seized the national leadership in clean and sustainable energy by committing itself to obtain 33 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2020.
On Tuesday, when Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 2X, a longstanding goal became law. It is essential to address climate change, reduce air pollution, diversify our sources of energy and stimulate the economy. And it is readily achievable.
Joe knows this law is important not only for reducing carbon but for increasing investment in the state, as any energy wonk in Europe or China would tell you:
SunPower CEO Tom Werner, at whose brand new solar manufacturing plant in Milpitas Governor Brown signed the bill, said the new plant is a direct result of the commitment the 33% mandate represents. Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of the Independent Energy Producers Association has said that his members have billions of dollars invested in biomass, solar, wind and geothermal generation, and that they are looking to expand here in California.
The great thing about Governor Brown is he says we can do better:
Upon signing California’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) into law on April 12, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wrote a letter to California’s legislators stating that he wants to see higher commitments to renewables...
...“While reaching a 33 percent renewables portfolio standard will be an important milestone, it is really just a starting point—a floor, not a ceiling. With the amount of renewable resources coming on-line, and prices dropping, I think 40 percent, at reasonable cost, is well within our grasp in the near future,” Brown wrote in a letter to the California Senate.
And with the BP oil spill and Fukushima nuclear disaster, renewables are getting even more attention. In fact, according to the business bible Forbes, solar is the fastest-growing industry in the country!
So while the Republicans, as usual, fight tooth and nail for the Old Economy, the New Economy is taking shape here in California. Republicans always like to portray themselves as risk-taking, hard-headed business types, but they are missing the biggest change in our economy since the advent of the Internet and personal computer.
And that's OK. Let them play johnny-come-latelies and let us California liberals set the pace and make the money. Twenty years from now conservatives will be demanding more tax breaks for solar company CEOs. It's just the way they operate -- 20 years behind and proud of it!