Here's one clean energy policy California shouldn't miss

Here's one clean energy policy California shouldn't miss

An oil pump at sunset in the San Joaquin Valley of California.
ShutterstockMark Geistweite
It should be sunset time for fossil fuels in California. An oil pump at sunset in the San Joaquin Valley.

California’s decision to embrace clean, renewable energy is not just good for the environment, it’s good for California’s economy. In fact, California has the strongest clean energy economy in the nation, providing more than 500,000 jobs and contributing billions of dollars to the state’s thriving economy. As a just-released E2 analysis shows, the benefits of the clean energy economy are spreading throughout the state, creating jobs and driving investments in every county and legislative district.

This success is due to California’s leadership in embracing strong, forward-looking policies and setting high standards. The best example of this is the state’s pioneering Renewables Portfolio Standard, which set goals for how much of the state’s retail electricity sales come from renewable sources.

Starting in 2002, California established ambitious, visionary goals — goals that have not merely been met but far exceeded. That success — and the job creation it delivered — has prompted the California Legislature to consider even higher goals.

By the end of August, lawmakers will vote on SB 100, which would raise the target for the state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard for 2030 from 50 percent to 60 percent. In addition, SB 100 would establish a goal for 100 percent of the electricity used in the state to come from carbon-free sources by 2045. 

Given the scope, size and influence of California, passage of SB 100 could be a huge step toward creating more sustainable energy — and jobs — in America and set a path that other states can follow.

California is the fifth-biggest economy in the world. Nearly 10 times as many people work in clean energy in California than work in the coal industry in the entire country. The state currently generates almost half of all solar electricity generated in America.

In addition to setting a path for more sustainable energy, passage of SB 100 would send a powerful market signal to the cleantech and entrepreneurial community and drive investment in development of new clean, renewable and carbon-free energy technologies.

California business leaders across the state fully support this legislation because they understand the link to innovation, investment and our economy. They also know how important the state’s leadership in renewable energy is to the rest of the nation and the world at a time when our federal government continues to march us backward on clean energy.

The vote on SB 100 comes as Californians are literally living through the daily impact of climate change. We just wrapped up in July the hottest month recorded in the state. Some of the worse wildfires in state history continue to rage. We know that left unchecked, climate change will cause even more disruptions — more intense storms, longer droughts, rising oceans. And we know it will not only cost our economy billions of dollars but threaten our very way of life.

Passage of SB 100 would send an important message to U.S. lawmakers and to the rest of the world that the fight against climate change is not just an environmental imperative; it’s an economic opportunity.

SB 100 already has passed the California Senate and is under consideration in the Assembly. Hopefully, members of the Assembly won’t hesitate to pass this bill.