Saturday, December 19, 2009

CASE STUDY: California's Sustainable Electricity Initiative

By Alex Contras

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger convinced the state legislature to recently pass legislation that mandates 33% of the state's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. This is one of the most ambitious renewable energy bills in the country and has catapulted California to the forefront of the green movement.

The main purpose of the initiative is to slowly move away from environmentally destructive energy production such as coal and oil while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The new aim makes California the premier renewable energy state. Hawaii is the only other state with similar legislation that has the aim of achieving 40% of electricity from renewable sources, but not till 2030. This legislation will provide a clear direction for creation and delivery of clean energy to the residents of California while hopefully avoiding another energy crisis in the near future.

Sources for this renewable energy will come various areas including solar panel farms, hydroelectric turbines out in the ocean bed, wind turbines, heat capture, and waste to energy conversion. There has also been talk of possibly bringing in some renewable energy from other states in order to meet the 33% goal by 2020.

Additionally, this legislation will keep California on the cutting edge of clean technology and renewable energy growth, meaning jobs in the green sector. With continued private sector investment going into sustainable energy technology, a state mandate will mean tax credits and other subsides. Sustainable energy is expected to be a $10 billion plus industry over the next 10-15 years in California alone. The job growth as a direct result of all this will provide Californians will quality long term jobs - California Green Jobs.

Achieving California's goals for renewable energy takes a long-term commitment and an enormous amount of investment. The California legislature set out a very ambitious but reachable goal that will hopefully change how the rest of America thinks about sustainable energy and environmentally friendly business practices.

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