With the way things are going, California’s goal to reach one-third renewable energy by 2020 is well on its way to fruition, with a “comfortable margin” to spare.
According to Michael Peevey, president of the state Public Utilities Commission, it’s programs like the California Solar Initiative that have some of the largest impact on meeting this goal.
“People talk about doom and gloom for business in California, and some aspects of it are true, but the innovative technological side is growing by great bounds,” he said at a Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies forum. “The state agencies overseeing these programs will need to coordinate with our universities, community colleges, workforce development agencies and the private sector to make sure we’re training the right number of people for the right jobs.”
California’s investor-owned utilities increased renewable energy shares from 13% to 20% over the past 3 years, and utilities currently have 11,000 megawatts of renewable energy contracts in the pipeline that have been approved for installation once investments in new facilities come around.
Green jobs have also increased by 50% between 1995 and 2010, and Peevey has stressed that an educated, strong labor force is crucial to California’s ability to meet these goals. “People say we can’t create jobs here anymore in California, but they are wrong,” he said. “It’s all in high-tech jobs. Everything from solar panels to fuel cells are being manufactured right here, and there are so many success stories of companies adding thousands of jobs throughout the state.”
As the 8th largest economy in the world, it is a big deal to see California taking such big strides toward renewable energy. If every large economy in the world took after the state, we would really be getting somewhere with renewable energy development.
Images CC licensed by Thomas Galvez: Solar panels in California