California Approves New Renewable Energy Target: 33% by 2020 - Let's Hope It Stands Past November

solar panel installation photo

photo: Port of San Diego via flickr

Seemingly on cue, just as a Congressional hearing is told that more Asian nations than China are soon going to be beating out the United States on renewable energy without stronger legislation, California regulators have voted to increase the state's renewable energy standard to 33% by 2020.

Industry veterans say this goal is more achievable than a prior target of 20 percent by 2010, but will require faster approvals for plants and continued government help for developer financing.

"We're going to need all the tools in the toolbox to meet that," said Southern California Edison manager for regulatory and legislative affairs Laura Genao.

At Pacific Gas & Electric Co., "meeting the 33 percent target is going to be challenging," says spokeswoman Cindy Pollard.(Reuters)

Infrastructure Challenges Mean More Small Projects Likely Required, Not Huge
Part of that challenge, according to further industry quotes in the original, are the usually cited suspects: Infrastructure and transmission shortcomings requiring further investment. Both of which could mean that it may be easier to meet that target with smaller grid-tied projects in the 20 MW range rather than the headline grabbing, exclamation pointed, world's largest projects--several of which, in the solar thermal out in the Mojave Desert variety, are in the final permitting stages in the state.

Nevertheless, the challenge must be met. Though California already has a remarkably clean energy mix, fossil fuels included, compared to other parts of the United States, in many ways the nation needs California to continue to lead on renewable energy and provide the collective kick in the arse so sorely needed.

Let's just hope the new target stands though and the scare tactic ballot initiative against it, coming up for vote in two months, doesn't derail the whole thing.

Renewable Energy Is The Present & Future, Full Stop
After all, more renewable energy isn't about green jobs or protecting the environment. It's about facing up to the global energy, climate and environmental reality: Oil is done (not today or tomorrow but there are supply and prices coming just over the horizon, even according to the IEA), coal is done if we want to maintain temperatures and climatic conditions conducive to California still being the orchard and garden to the nation, without adjusting to this now and future reality the economy as a whole, not just that subsection labeled 'green' is in for an even greater world of hurt than it currently feels.

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More on Renewable Energy:
India, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea All Soon Clobbering the US on Renewable Energy
New Energy Installations in US & Europe Continue to Outpace Fossil Fuels
Weak Renewable Energy Laws Would Lose US Jobs to Asia, Europe

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