By: Tracy Emblem,Esq.
If California was a nation, so the saying goes, it would rank eighth in the world. Nevertheless, California has not been utilizing its natural clean renewable energy resources.
Recently, and in order to insure cleaner energy, the Legislature passed two bills that require California utilities produce 33-percent renewable energy by 2020, the highest standard in the nation. AB 14 and AB 64 expand existing law which calls for implementing 20-percent renewable energy in California by 2020.
The bills, although not perfect, set some real targets and deadlines.
Governor Schwarzenegger says he will veto both bills due to the limitations placed on the amount of "imported" energy. Schwarzenegger asserts that the bills promote protectionism and unfairly discriminate from power produced and sold in other states. He claims that California's renewable energy goal can be implemented through his own executive orders.
Implementing energy policies through executive orders is not a good concept because executive orders do not have the same force and effect as laws. They can be changed at the whim of a new administration. Consequently, if we want meaningful change, we must be cautious about implementing energy policies through executive orders.
Instead of importing renewable energy from other states, legislation must insure that renewable energy sources are built in California. In fact, the bills would create an estimated 200,000 green jobs, which in turn generates income in California's troubled economy.
More importantly, California's energy policies should provide for long term market stability and fixed energy costs which make business costs more predictable. Because each state also regulates energy costs, investing in renewable energy in our own state would decrease our reliance on imported energy in the future, and provides for greater economic security.
Additionally, producing clean energy in our own state protects the public's health because it helps to reduce pollution from fossil-fueled power plants. Diseases are not only genetic they are caused by environmental conditions. Working for environmental solutions will bring down health care costs and therefore makes clean energy in California a public health issue and involves more than "protectionism."
Germany has several solar projects providing clean power. Because California usually takes the lead in innovative progress, we must insist on legislation which provides clean energy. We must insist on certainty in our energy production through legislation, rather than uncertainty by regulating through executive orders.