California Commits to Clean Energy. Can the U.S. follow?

Authors: Daniel Sanchez, Capital Access Program The green economy has gotten a big boost. Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a groundbreaking renewable energy bill that will put California on the path to 33% renewable energy by 2020. This bill ensures a clean energy future for the State of California, and will protect the environment, public health, and economy. “Being dependent on foreign fossil fuel is not good for our economy, it’s not good for our security, and it’s not good for our climate,” the governor told AP. “We have to be bold.” The standard, called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), gives investors confidence that there will be long-term demand for renewable energy. It commits California to long-term green job creation. Speaking at the event, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced a $1.2 billion loan guarantee for a solar project by SunPower in California. This development, like many others the standard would spur, will create 350 jobs. Yet, nationally, President Obama’s call for a Clean Energy Standard has gone unanswered. The President has called for a national standard to double the share of clean energy to 80 percent by 2035. This policy would deploy investment to sustain and create jobs, drive innovation, and protect the environment and our health. Rather than discussing this proposal, the House of Representatives is instead working to repeal the EPA’s ability to regulate pollution. Driven by ideologues and corporate lobbyists, Congressmen are trying to wring the last few dollars out of the 1900s, rather than focusing on energy of the future. The question remains: can the U.S. follow California’s bold, innovative leadership?

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