California Leads the Way in Renewable Energy Development

by Louisa May

ArnoldIf all goes well, an Executive Order signed by Governor Schwarzenegger will not only advance California’s transition to clean energy but boost the economy as well.

According to an economic study conducted by the University of California at Berkeley and Next 10, California’s policies will create as many as 403,000 jobs in the next twelve years and household incomes will increase by 48 billion dollars.

Tired of the Red Tape

“Twas brillig, and the slithy toves…” I’m sorry, that’s Jabberwocky. The mind is a funny place. Whenever I read a legal document, I begin to hear a bit of Jabberwocky. That is, I’m listening for that linguistic blend of words combining to create something new. Sometimes, it’s tricky reading. (Do you remember “mimsy“? It means miserable and flimsy.)

In this case, Governor Schwarzenegger has been clear. On November 17, 2008, he signed Executive Order (EO) S -14- 08 to streamline California’s renewable energy project approval process and increase the state’s renewable energy standards to 33% renewable power by 2020.

By signing this EO, the Governor is setting the most aggressive target in the nation for renewable energy. He’s calling for a third of the state’s energy to be produced by solar, wind, and geothermal power. Governor Schwarzenegger has led California in establishing laws and policies directed at promoting renewable energy.

And, as California goes, so go we, the rest of the nation.

But even politicians get tired of red tape:

When Governor Schwarzenegger made his EO announcement, (at the site of OptiSolar’s new plant in Sacramento) he addressed this problem directly, “We won’t meet that goal doing business as usual, where environmental regulations are holding up environmental progress in some cases. The EO will clear the red tape for renewable projects and streamline the permitting and siting of new plants and transmission lines.”

In order to streamline the application for renewable energy development, the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will create a “one stop” permitting process.

The goal is to cut the application waiting time for specific projects in half. The Governor is using this order to compel both of these agencies to work efficiently together in dealing with conflicts that are sure to occur between environmentalists and developers of renewable energy projects.

There’s no getting around it. Transmission lines will need to be placed and power plants built. “Let’s work together and get it done” is the message here.

Will it work or is it Jabberwocky?

I’m optimistic, but a few years’ time will tell.

Check out our Green Pages for information on money saving tips that help the environment. Once there, click on the Green Forum for more articles by feature writer Louisa May.

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