Shedding Light on the Energy Crisis
California’s persistent use of fossil fuels shows no sign of slowing down. Simultaneously, solid international consensus clearly states that business-as-usual is no longer an option if we are to prevent dangerous climate change, emphasizing instead the need for a global move into a clean energy economy. As the effects of a fossil fuel-oriented society intensify, California has at stake everything from increases in pollution-related health problems like asthma and lung disease to scarcity of water due to major climate changes. Senate Bill 107 (Simitian and Perata) addresses our fossil fuel dependency problem by speeding up California’s transition to renewable electricity generation.
Renewable energy technologies utilize the power of the sun, wind, and geothermal heat to create clean energy that is not only abundant, but produces little air pollution and does not cause the buildup of global warming gases. By switching to renewable energy sources, California moves toward self-sufficiency. One of the biggest lessons learned from the Enron-exacerbated energy crisis is that California cannot afford to be dependent on out-of-state gas companies. Furthermore, investment in renewal energy directly translates into investment in California’s economy. More high-quality jobs result from the manufacturing, installation, and servicing of renewable energy systems than the continued investment in the current fossil fuel-based system. It also places California at the forefront of the rapidly growing clean energy industry.
Currently, over 90 percent of California’s electricity comes from environmentally degrading sources that result in air and water pollution, global warming, and toxins in our communities. However, California has an abundance of sunshine, wind, and geothermal energy that easily could be harnessed to provide clean, renewable power and skilled jobs. Under current law, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires California’s electric utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2017. SB 107 would raise the bar by advancing the deadline of 20 percent renewable energy to 2010. The Governor has already stated his support for “20 percent by 2010” and has even set a goal of 33 percent by 2020.
The benefits of renewable energy are compelling: environmental protection, economic growth, job creation, diversity of fuel supply and rapid deployment, as well as the global potential for technology transfer and innovation. California has a history of setting trends for environmental standards. Let’s not miss out on the opportunity to lead the way with renewable energy.
Victory: Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 107 into law!