California Pushes Ahead as Clean Energy Leader
The state of California is getting ready to let billions of dollars of investments begin to roll out in support of the clean energy sector, solidifying its position as the national leader in environmental causes.
While casting their votes in the presidential election last week, Californians also approved Proposition 39, a bill aimed at closing a corporate tax loophole and redirecting the increased tax dollars to support a series of environmental goals over the next five years. The funds will include about $2.5 billion to be invested in a variety of programs aimed at lowering California’s emissions, and boosting its already rich portfolio of alternative energy projects.
This week will also see the start of the state’s new carbon allowances, a system of cap-and-trade that will force corporate polluters to purchase and exchange carbon offsets. (Read More: California Carbon Market at Risk Amid Opposition)
Besides helping to further California’s push towards self-reliance on clean energy, the new carbon market is also expected to bring in revenues of up to $11 billion per year by 2020, creating a vast new pool of funds to be invested into environmentally-friendly projects.
These new developments come as the state’s solar power subsidy program, a successful endeavor that has vastly increased the use of solar power by Californian businesses and citizens alike, enters its fourth year.
Even as debate rages on about the collapse of federally-funded solar firm Solyndra, California has managed to successfully incorporate solar programs across the state, giving the sector a much-needed push towards longevity. (Read More: Perfect Storm Brewing for Troubled U.S. Solar Manufacturers)
“We put our money where our mouths are,” said Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, the agency responsible for enforcing environmental policy and managing the state’s upcoming cap-and-trade system. “We back up what we do in regulation by shifting subsidies from things that pollute and are inefficient to things that are more efficient and make our state more resilient.”