Golden State, cont'd...
A few days in advance of
signing the landmark greenhouse gas reduction measure. the governor signed
a package of related bills, specifically SB107, which requires investor
owned utilities to have 20 percent of their electricity come from
renewable sources by 2010 – pushing up the deadline from 2017. AB1925
requires the California Energy Commission to make recommendations for
capturing and storing industrial carbon dioxide, the most common
greenhouse gas. Lastly, SB1686 takes forestlands into account as
valuable to the reduction and sequestration of greenhouse
already the nation’s most energy-efficient state. Despite its size and
continued growth, it is the only state in the U.S. where energy demand has
remained flat. However, even this accomplishment is not enough to ensure
the state’s energy security and meet the needs of a growing number of
consumers and businesses.
Since the rolling blackouts of 2001,
nearly 20,000 California homes, businesses and schools have installed
solar panels, increasing solar power in the state by 5,900 percent. After
three years of work by the Governor and the legislature, the
groundbreaking “Million Solar Roofs” bill, SB 1, was signed into law on
August 21. It complements the California Solar Initiative established by
the CPUC earlier this year, a $3.2 billion program designed to provide
rebates to a million homeowners, businesses, schools and government
buildings. SB 1 puts the state on track toward building a million solar
roofs in the next ten years by allowing consumers to get a credit on their
electric bill for excess power generated by their solar systems. It also
mandates that solar panels become a standard option for all new
homebuyers. The CEC can determine if and when solar power could be
mandated in new construction.
During the past few years,
California has added 5,000 megawatts of new, more efficient and cleaner
power plants, the largest increase in nearly a decade. Twelve new power
plants have opened since 2003, with 11 CEC-approved projects under
construction or ready to start, totaling 7,643 megawatts of power.
By 2010, the state will be acquiring 20 percent of its electricity
from renewable sources, and 33 percent by 2020. (At present, the state is
currently acquiring 13.7 percent from renewable sources.)
and green building initiatives coalesce, with the Governor’s Green
Building Initiative mandating a reduction in energy consumption by 20
percent at major state-owned facilities. To that end, the DGS is
overseeing the installation of solar photovoltaic systems at seven sites
statewide. They will generate approximately 3.2 megawatts of on-site
To develop additional sources, the state is
exploring fuel cell technology and evaluating other cutting edge, clean
and renewable power generation technologies.
Green: It’s in the
The prospects of success for the programs that have been
set in motion in California are increased by several factors, including a
re-thinking of the role of business in sustaining the environment. This
new thinking is expressed in a growing number of widely-read books
including The Ecology of Commerce, Cradle to Cradle and
Natural Capitalism. There is also a growing sense in the investment
community that green technology is the next “big thing.” Many of the
California-based investors and engineers who fueled the IT explosion are
lining up to keep the state at the center of the action for the new wave
Governor Schwarzenegger is well aware of the
possibilities. "People always say you can't be pro-business and
pro-environment, but they are dead wrong,” he says. “You can do both and
we're proving it every day in California."
The Golden State’s green
aspirations are not new, but they have been given new intensity and focus.
The Governor has laid down the gauntlet, challenging everyone who works
within state and local government, and all those who live here or who
provide products, services and consulting to meet and beat the
expectations of his initiatives.
back to top