The Golden State, California, Has Now Supercharged Solar & Wind Energy Production

Sacramento Solar & Wind Energy News – We all know that renewable energy presents business opportunities for manufactures and small business solar system designers and installers. California solar and wind energy companies are working overtime spurring green careers and job growth, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and cleaning up the air we breath.

Now their efforts have now been rewarded by the California Air Resources Board this week when it set an aggressive standard demanding 1/3 of our energy come from renewable sources.

This is America 101 reinventing itself with California leading the way with solar and wind energy installation and manufacturing jobs. Renewable energy technology is the way out of our economic woes and we applaud the California Air Resources Board for taking a bold stand for our future.

However, there is a dark cloud threating our progress and its name is prop 23. If California voters approve Proposition 23 in November it could all go sideways. Prop 23, funded by Texas oil companies with refineries in California, would stop implementation of AB 32 in its tracks.

California speeds adoption of green power. Central Valley Business Times Electricity made by windmills, solar photovoltaic panels, hydropower and tapping super heated steam beneath the earth’s crust has gotten a big push from the California Air Resources Board. On Thursday it set a new standard that one-third of the electricity used in the state by 2020 must come from renewable sources. The regulation installing the 33 percent renewable electricity standard was adopted unanimously.

The board contends that the new standard will promote green jobs to install and run renewable facilities like solar and wind energy in California, reduce hundreds of tons of harmful air pollution, insulate California’s economy from the shock of volatile natural gas prices and help establish the state as a global leader in the solar and wind research, development and manufacturing of clean, renewable energy sources.

The state may be closer to meeting the new standard than it would seem. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, one of Congress’ most outspoken supporters of alternative energy and a former executive in the wind energy industry says installing wind power is already cost effective with solar not far behind.

“If you look at it without subsidies, in a good resource [windy] area you can produce wind power for five cents a kilowatt hour,” says Mr. McNerney. “If you have subsidies, it goes down to 4, 3 cents a kilowatt hour. So installing wind, in my opinion, can be sufficient right now.”

He says the cost of electricity generated by the giant windmills installed on the hills of Tehachapi Pass in Kern County and on the hills of the Altamont Pass in the Bay Area is at a price point comparable to electricity generated by fossil fuels.

The deserts and home rooftops are read for solar panels to provide local power generation that does not get wasted by traveling hundreds of miles on the grid. All it takes now is the political will to continue to create thousands of solar and wind installation and manufacturing jobs.

California ranks third in the nation in wind power generation and first in solar energy installations with a current maximum output of 2,739 megawatts.

“Economically, wind is already, in my opinion, sufficient without subsidies of any kind, ” he says. ARB Chairman Mary Nichols says the new requirement help clean the air and bring new solar and wind energy facilities to California with thousands of jobs in solar and wind turbine installation, operation and spin off industries.

“This standard is going to further diversify and secure our energy supply while also growing California’s leading green solar and wind energy technology market, which will lead to cost savings for consumers,” she says. The goal of 33 percent renewable electricity is a toward fulfilling AB 32, the requirements of California’s climate change legislation.

What happens if voters approve Proposition 23 in November could be interesting. Prop 23, funded by Texas oil companies with refineries in California, would stop implementation of AB 32 in its tracks.

Drilldown details

Major aspects of the solar and wind energy standard adopted include:

• The regulation applies to all entities that deliver electricity, including investor owned utilities (IOUs) and publically owned utilities (POUs) including municipal utilities;

• The solar and wind installation regulation creates a program that is consistent for all electrical entities;

• The phased-in approach provides for interim targets for renewable energy: 20 percent for 2012-2014; 24 percent for 2015-2017; 28 percent for 2018-2019; 33 percent for 2020 and beyond;

• The program fulfillment employs the solar and wind installation procedures and mechanisms already used by electrical entities; and,

• The smallest electricity providers (sales of less than 200,000 megawatt-hours per year) are only subject to recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the wind and solar installers mandate will result in hundreds of tons of statewide reductions in smog-forming and toxic air pollutants by displacing the use of dirtier fossil fueled generation, ARB contends.