Wednesday, April 13, 2011

CA's 33% renewables target: Promise or paper tiger?

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new bill that hikes up the state's commitment to 33% renewable energy of overall use, up from 20%.

Bill "SBX1 2" revises some terms within the state's Renewable Energy Resources Program, signed as an executive order in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the bottom line: The new target for renewable energy usage by 2020 is fully one-third, up from 20%.

In a statement, the Governor said the increased threshold would stimulate investment in green technologies, create "tens of thousands of new jobs," and promote energy independence. But making 33% of the state's energy overall portfolio come from renewable sources -- the highest in the nation -- "is really just a starting point, a floor, not a ceiling," he said, suggesting that as prices drop and more RE sources come online, 40% "at reasonable cost is well within our grasp in the near future."

The measure, announced at a SunPower-Flextronics plant dedication, is supported within the renewables sector and by major power producer SoCal Edison, which is already close to the current 20% benchmark. But it's not without controversy; some suggest that residents' utility bills will spike greatly.

What do you think? Is this a significant stake-in-the-ground for renewable energy adoption, a catalyst for industry and jobs that paves the way for others to follow? Or is it a partisan paper tiger that will cause more financial problems than the ones it aims to solve: power generation/availability, environmental concerns, and eventually cost/W?

1 comment:

  1. Of course prices will rise! As a society we tend to favor what's cheap/least expensive. That's why coal is the world's largest source of energy.

    Energy prices will rise no matter what we do. As we substitute away from oil, coal, and gas, prices will rise even faster.

    It's a disservice to imply that renewables are not only renewable, and cleaner, but also cheaper.

    If green energy technology is going to create lots and lots of jobs, then end users are going to have to pay the folks doing all that work.

    If you want cheap energy you can't employ millions of people to provide it.