Clean Energy Acts

Can California get “all electric utilities to produce 50 percent of their electricity from clean energy sources” by 2025? That should be easy if government mandates the transition and funds the right new infrastructure, and gets out of the way everywhere else. California’s economy already has a fantastic import/export balance. Imagine if California cut her dependance on energy imports in half? A compelling case, though easily assailed. Will this initiative, the “California Solar and Clean Energy Act of 2008″ be approved by voters and passed into law?

The magnificant California Condor, resurrected by environmentalists.
No honest critique of environmentalism can deny their contributions.

At least they’re thinking big. With utility scale next generation biofuel refineries, miles of fields of solar thermal collectors – power towers, troughs and parabolics, enhanced geothermal systems, alongside myriad decentralized – and deregulated – solutions, it really ought to be easy to accomplish a goal like this. Grow it here. Collect it here. Energy from plant sugars and oils, cellulose, sunlight and waste streams, nothing more, and cradle to cradle clean. Just add water. Make California energy positive. Of course it can be done.

This week the Federal Government did something even bigger, at the least in terms of how it will affect our pocketbooks, passing into law the Energy Bill 2007. The 35 mile per gallon automobile mileage standard should be fine, as long as electron-powered miles are factored into the mileage calculation based on projected duty cycles. Auto safety and size will not necessarily be compromised when one considers the impact of high-density batteries on the mileage achieved by larger hybrid vehicles. Series hybrid mini-vans, for example, will become ubiquitous.

The Energy Bill 2007 also spends a lot on biofuel. Hopefully the rapidly growing biofuel industry will figure out how to economically extract ethanol from Miscanthus and other cellulosic feedstocks soon, or at least improve agronomy so the plant rotation actually improves the soil. And where is the discussion of biofuel certification, so we can restore tropical rainforests? Without these things we risk biofuel fulfilling the lower end of its potential in terms of yield, and losing ground in the war to save and repair ecosystems to unsustainable excesses.

According to the Bush White House, the Energy Bill will “reform and clarify the onshore and gas permitting process,” and “reduce conflicts with other laws and regulations.” The Energy Bill funds research into clean coal. It strengthens the electric power grid. It continues to pour money into hydrogen research. It facilitates investment in new nuclear power plants. It extends existing tax credits for investment in renewable energy production, as well as for installation of residential solar energy systems. This bill has money for pretty much anything and everything having to do with energy production.

Becoming energy positive can really help an economy, whether it’s California’s or the USA’s, or any other place. Green jobs at home. Billions and trillions of green green domestic dollars.

2 Responses to “Clean Energy Acts”
  1. sheila says:

    WTF, man? i love this site, but you can not really be falling for this astroturfed CRAP, can you? these guys are proposing to kill off billions of acres of healthy ecosystems to site their “cradle to cradle clean” killing fields. i love how you show a photo of a condor and cheer for environmentalists and at the same time, talk as though killing the entire CA wilderness is the greenest thing since three mile island’s radioactive glow.

    what CA and the entire country need are DECENTRALIZED, LOCAL RENEWABLE solutions, SOLELY ON PREVIOUSLY DEVELOPED LAND, like the rooftop PV so many of your articles advocate, and utility-scale projects only on “brownfields,” old airfields, marginal agricultural lands, etc.

    it is incredibly serious to advocate killing huge, huge, huge sections of wilderness in a senseless stampede from coal to “renewables.” if you are killing the planet, you cannot call it green. there is a smart, fiscally responsible way to do this – 100% power buybacks at peak rates (not “net metering”), subsidies, easy financing, etc. – let’s have the people get a little something for their tax dollars, instead of always our land, our sun, our wind, and all our money flowing cheaply to utilities to bottle and sell back to us at extortionate profits, and a net loss of open space, plants, species, groundwater, etc.

  2. Ed Ring says:

    Sheila: I love that you love the site. But which part of that post translated for you into “killing huge sections of wilderness?” Biofuel? What about “And where is the discussion of biofuel certification, so we can restore tropical rainforests?”

    EcoWorld has been raving about the problem of tropical deforestation in the name of saving the planet for years. It is one of our mantras. So please elaborate – what specifically has aroused your ire? We love decentralized solutions – for many reasons not the least of which is it will necessarily shrink the public sector…


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