LOS ANGELES—Calling for more clean energy and green jobs, Governor Jerry Brown hosted a conference at University of California, Los Angeles today to shine a spotlight on his goal of building twelve thousand megawatts (MW) of solar power and other forms of small-scale renewable energy by 2020. The move would quadruple the state’s current market for these kinds of clean energy technologies.
“This is exactly what California needs,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, director of clean energy programs for Environment California, who was invited to speak at today’s conference. “The governor is tackling some of California’s toughest problems like air pollution and economic development with smart, no-brainer solutions like rooftop solar that bring cleaner air and green jobs to the state.”
The two day conference brings together policy makers, industry representatives, clean energy advocates and environmental organizations to map out how to achieve the governor’s goal of expanding the state’s small-scale renewable energy market by roughly a factor of four. The governor’s vision builds upon his own personal record of making California a world clean energy leader during his first governorship, as well as the work of other California policy makers.
Most recently, in 2006, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed SB 1, the Million Solar Roofs Initiative that set out to build 3,000 megawatts of rooftop solar power by 2016. To date, California has installed over a quarter of that goal (800 MW) and is well on its way to achieving the goal by 2016. Since 2006, California has seen the price of solar power drop 40% on average and the size of the solar industry double. Today, more than 1,000 firms are active in California’s solar industry employing 30,000 people.
“California’s is already benefiting from its investment in rooftop solar with cleaner air, lower prices and green jobs.” said Del Chiaro. “This initiative will quadruple the state’s solar power market over the next ten years bringing greater public health, environmental and economic benefits.”
The on-site energy is often referred to as “distributed generation” because the electricity is generated locally, where it is needed, helping cut out the need for expensive energy infrastructure and helping make the energy grid more efficient. The most common form of distributed generation is rooftop solar power, both solar photovoltaic technologies and solar thermal technologies such as solar water heaters. Other forms of renewable distributed generation, or local power, include fuel cells powered by renewable fuels, small scale wind turbines, and small geothermal systems. California is currently the nation’s largest market for these kinds of clean energy technologies but still lags behind other countries like Germany.
“Twelve thousand megawatts of renewable small-scale power is huge no matter how you dice it but it is also quite doable,” concluded Del Chiaro.
More information about the governor’s event can be found at: http://gov.ca.gov/s_energyconference.php.
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Environment California is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization.