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California clean energy: "No on 23" is back

Prop 23 BEST foto Wally Skalij
Former Secretary of State George Shultz and San Francisco hedge fund manager Thomas Steyer are resurrecting the successful alliance between clean-tech businesses and environmental groups that defeated Proposition 23 last November.

The new non-partisan group, calling itself “Californians for Clean Energy and Jobs,” will support the rollout of new regulations under the state’s ambitious global warming law, which survived the initiative that would have delayed its implementation.

And, with opposition growing to the renewal of California’s nuclear plant licenses, and gas prices surging higher, the group will seek to shore up Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to vastly expand the state’s reliance on solar and wind power.

“How many times can you be hit on the head with a two-by-four?” Shultz said at a Friday press conference. “I go back to the Arab oil embargo of 1973. Clean energy is going to protect our national security.”

The new organization has $1 million in the bank, left over from the initiative campaign, and is planning to raise more. Its partners include the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, with a membership of high-tech companies, and such environmental groups as the California League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Shultz, a Republican who helped rally corporate leaders during the ballot initiative, said the group would have a business focus, making sure that AB 32, the global warming law to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, “is not disrupting to the state’s economy.”

California can show Washington, where climate legislation has stalled, that “putting a price on carbon — you can go about it in a way that is gradual,” he said. “We are on the right track.”

A bill is currently moving through the Legislature to require a third of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources. Brown has placed a new emphasis on rooftop solar arrays, saying that 12,000 of 20,000 new megawatts of renewable energy could come from such locally generated sources.

Steyer said the new group would also promote energy efficiency by reaching out to owners of the state’s 9 billion square feet of commercial office space to educate them about energy auditsand gaining access to retrofit programs. “No one has sent out staff before to help them change their behavior,” he said. “Saving energy, not just building new renewables, is the killer app.”

A San Francisco Superior Court last week put the implementation of California's global warming law on hold after finding that the state had not given adequate consideration to alternatives to a cap-and-trade regulation, but legal analysts did not expect the decision to delay new rules under the act.


Judge places California's global warming law on hold

Jerry Brown: A new direction on eco-issues?

Proposition 21: Backers were outspent, out-organized

--Margot Roosevelt

Photo: In the fall of 2010, Los Angeles protesters against Proposition 23 marched on Tesoro's Wilmington refinery to protest against the company's backing for the initiative to suspend California's global warming law. Credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

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Arrogant Lemming: Your numbers are way off. How do you explain that Germany is one of the world's most successful adopters of solar? Also, when discussing solar it helps to have a rudimentary knowledge of how the Earth moves around the sun, which you apparently don't. I agree we haven't yet figured out how to harness 1000w/m2 the sun offers due to limitations of the solar modules. I just can't understand the resistance to solar. I agree feed in tariffs will save our country if we can just wrangle the power from the utilities. They are fighting this like nothing ever before. Solar can't be kept down no matter how much propaganda the utilities throw out there. Furthermore, what is the real price of poisoning our environment with the byproducts of fossil fuel use? Solar is clean affordable energy and must be adopted. Don't buy power from a utility, get it off your roof!

George Schultz is a huge fan of Feed in Tariffs, the energy policy that will save the economy, save democracy and save the environment. They are incredibly effective, fast, affordable and fair - YOU get paid for producing clean power, not Chevron. Who could ever oppose that??? Yet, 7 years into an INCREDIBLE run in Germany, our rooftops still bake and sprawl and our deserts are being scraped bare so that Chevron and BP and Goldman Sachs can sell us our own sunshine (which they are capturing on our land, using almost entirely our money - nice work if you can get it!)...

Good for George Schultz. When a statesman such as him acts on the side of the angels it helps to put the know-nothings of his party in their place.

They won't care however and they'll probably try to smear him as that's what they do with people who disagree with the party line.

While I'm a big fan of renewable energy, I always cringe when I hear folks over-hyping the benefits. Take the previous poster's 1 kW/m^2. That's the value for a m^2 perpendicular to the sun, at the equator, at midday, on a cloudless day. Once you account for all of that, the sunnier parts of the US get on average around 170 W/m^2. This is with the caveat that I'm trying to remember a number I encountered 4 years ago. But to back it up, Britain - who's in a worse position for solar - get's about 100 W/m^2 ( ).

We just keep drinking the Kool-Aid. Everytime we buy into one of these green power schemes, we get that much weeker. Industry will determine when the time is right, Taxing us into submission only makes us weeker on the international front.

"Solar is just what it says..." I'm not sure what that means but I guess you mean that 1000w/square meter of free power is landing on our planet. Rooftop solar is the only power generation that is easy, non-toxic, and readily available without building huge infrastructures and destroying environments. Why are people fighting it? I guess people fear what they don't understand. You don't have to buy your electricity from a big utility, you can just get it for free off your roof. Duh.

Go renewable energy!!! We need to start making more of an effort as a people to make our planet cleaner and safer. If we show our gov't that we don't want to depend on oil drilled here or anywhere else maybe our soldiers wouldn't be on foriegn soil fighting for it. It is also very obvious that California does not need to renew it nuclear license, just look at Japan and what is possible in California with its geographics.

Geothermal in most of California has a major shortcoming. Lack of water. Most people are not aware that geothermal power looses a great deal of water through evaporation. There needs to be a substantial aquifer to support a geothermal plant, and most of California's plants are in the desert where water is very scarce.
The Cost Geothermal Field north of Mojave recently depleted the aquifer in the Coso basin and has had to contract with the Indian Wells Valley Water District for water from two ranches the water district owns in the extreme southern Owens Valley. The water will be piped to the geothermal plant to the south.
The existing geothermal plant south east of Salton Sea out near Plaster City cannot expand due to lack of water, and other proposed geothermal sites east of the Salton Sea are on hold due to the lack of sustainable water supplies for their operations.
Geothermal can work in a wet climate, but California's most promising sites are all in the state's most arid regions.

This group should be looking at Geothermal Energy as a primary focus over wind and solar. Solar is just what it says and wind is dependent on wind. Geothermal resources are found over the entire planet. California's geothermal resources are vast and should be invested in by this group and research and development dollars need to be spent on geothermal along with production wells for clean energy. Geothermal is 24/7 365 days a year.


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