Renewable Energy Fight in California
There is currently a major fight taking place in Sacramento, California about the way in which California is going to achieve the new, 33% of energy coming through renewable means by 2020. Two bills going through Assembly right now are advocating for there to be this high amount of energy created through only renewable sources by the end of the next decade. It’s causing issues, though, because of the methods in which they want it done.
The utility companies want there to be flexibility in the bills because of numerous cases. First off, they want the option to import renewable energy from out of state so that they can meet the 33% bill. Furthermore, they want the opportunity to extend the 2020 deadline if they’re going to miss it. Their argument is that the markets can’t plan that far in the future and it is unfair to the utility companies to demand there be this reached deadline.
The fight is coming in from all parts. The environmentalists are worried that if the lawmakers allow this flexibility, it will prevent real change from occurring environmentally speaking and no good will come from it. Consumers are concerned that the cost of California residents’ energy bills will skyrocket. Furthermore, they’re trying to prevent these utility companies from getting the energy from elsewhere because they want to create jobs in California.
People are concerned that if the utility companies are allowed to import their energy, what will happen is that there will be no economic growth in California, only green growth, and the goal is for there to be a mix of both.
There’s also the issue of funding it. It could require as much as $115 billion to reach the 33% goal by 2020. This makes it increasingly difficult for utility companies to reach it, especially since its being suggested that they won’t even reach the 20% by 2010 as tehy were supposed to do. Instead, it may take as long as 2013 or 2014.
There are also discussions of using hydroelectric plants, but environmentalists are firmly against some aspects of it. They are looking into creating run-of-the-river plants where they divert water into the turbines to create electricity, but don’t block the entire river with a huge dam. This would please environmentalists as well as provide for more energy.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has expressed a great interest in trying to turn California into a firm green energy producing state. With the economy shaky there, it would be incredibly beneficial for the state to have this flow of renewable energy. Most importantly, the environment would get a break from the constant release of emissions.