SACRAMENTO, CA - JANUARY 10: California Governor Jerry Brown speaks to reporters as he announces his proposed budget at the California State Capitol on January 10, 2011 in Sacramento, California. Governor Brown announced a balanced state budget that cuts spending by $12.5 billion and includes an eight to ten percent cut in take home pay for state employees and proposes a "vast and historic" restructuring of government operations. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Like the late 70’s. Now some 30 years later Brown is leading the charge to satisfy California’s future energy needs by shifting to cleaner, greener sources.
For the past two days he’s met with some 250-industry leaders at an invitation-only conference in Los Angeles.
“It is essential that this state invest in the future by insuring new energy supplies.” Brown said. That’s not a quote from the conference. It’s a statement he made during his first stint as governor in 1978.
It was during that time he signed a first-ever tax incentive for the use of rooftop solar panels. With limited technology in the late 70’s the push for solar energy never really got much momentum.
Back then, for instance, one San Diego county developer invested in the construction of a whole street of new homes dedicated to using solar panels to supply power to the houses. The trend never caught on and the bank ended up with most of them.
But things are different now.
Inconceivable in the late 70’s.
Then there’s SB X1 2. That’s the bill Brown signed last April that requires one third of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by the end of 2020.
That’s an aggressive plan that has Governor Brown’s full attention and support.
Just take a look at the huge solar power plant currently under construction in Blythe. Utilizing Helio Trough technology it’s the largest project of its type in the world. When completed it will be able to provide the electricity needs of 300,000 homes for an entire year.
But his plan includes projects designed to support energy needs on local levels. Smaller systems near high-usage areas where there are already power lines in place. These would primarily rely on solar energy but leaves the door open for wind and bio gas as well.
Bio gas? Yep, it’s real. Use your imagination.
It will be interesting to find out what emerges from this conference with the governer and these renewable energy leaders. Projects like these aren’t cheap and serious questions remain regarding the expense of such a widespread endeavor.
Will job creation and cheaper, cleaner energy be worth the cost of implementing such an aggressive plan?
Governor Brown believes it is.