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Energy & Climate ‘Big Ideas’ from Governor Brown’s Fourth Term

costantino, jon, manatt 2Governor Brown was sworn into office earlier this month and gave his fourth inaugural address, which also doubled as his State of the State (a rare double feature). Though he touched on a variety of other proposals, the Governor kept his laser focused on climate and energy issues. He proposed three carefully worded, but ambitious, goals for California to accomplish within the next 15 years:

  • Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources
  • Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent
  • Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner

Together with his 2015-16 budget proposal, which was released a few days later and includes the largest dollar value to date of Cap and Trade revenues to be expended, over a billion dollars, due to this year’s inclusion of transportation fuels in the program, there will be plenty to digest and debate in Sacramento this legislative session.

Governor Brown also vowed to continue a host of the state’s most progressive energy policies, which include expanding distributed generation, rooftop solar, microgrids, energy storage and electric vehicles. He also called on the broader minds (think Silicon Valley and Academia) within California to make it all work. He said, “It will require enormous innovation, research and investment. And we will need active collaboration at every stage with our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, businesses and officials at all levels.”

“Taking significant amounts of carbon out of our economy without harming its vibrancy is exactly the sort of challenge at which California excels,” he said. “This is exciting. It is bold, and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system.”

This sounds like a leader who just doubled down on this policy area.

Raising the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) has been widely anticipated in California, which is on track to meet its current target of 33 percent. The 50 percent renewable number, though it isn’t presented as an RPS increase, surprised many, as it seems to be the choice over the alternative being discussed, a new low-carbon “Clean Energy Standard.”

Equally aggressive is the state goal of up to 50 percent reduction in petroleum use. The California Air Resources Board simultaneously put out a road map on how to achieve this standard. With the biggest programs to date only getting the state less than half of the way to the stated goal, there is a lot left to be done.

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3 thoughts on “Energy & Climate ‘Big Ideas’ from Governor Brown’s Fourth Term

  1. With all these lofty and costly goals, I am always surprised that water is still nowhere part of the equation. Even if it is,it is such a small negligible part,yet droughts and other factors can put a quick major crimp in any economic forecast or consistent economic growth!

  2. I like the aggressive approach. I did not see any mention of geothermal. I would like to see an approach on how to push geothermal because of the obvious benefits. The technology has caught and geothermal is sustainable and low maintenance once it is installed. We just have to overcome the initial cost to the home owner. My only idea is bigger tax incentives. I am open to any ideas.

  3. With the Flat Earth Society still denying Global Warming, I am extremely gratified that Gov. Brown has put a stake in the ground making California the tip of the spear in reducing GHG’s and alternative energy and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Thank you Gov. Brown, as usual California is leading the way forward regardless of what the Rightwingnutz think.

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