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- PE COFFEEHAUS
Recall that just a few years ago, just before the collapse of Enron, the state suffered through rolling brownouts and massive energy shortages. It seemed that everyone stood around pointing fingers and blaming each other for the situation. While conditions are better, it is not by much and it is obvious that no lessons were learned. While the demand for energy continues to grow, the powers that be do not want to build new nuclear or coal-fired power plants. Understandably, they also do not want to buy power from their neighbors, who overcharged California in the past. They do want to be leaders and examples of how transition to a renewable solution can be doable and affordable. They just can’t agree on how.
All parties want to set a standard that at least 33 percent of electricity should be generated from renewable sources. Most want the goal reached by 2020. However, a study from the state’s utility commission stated that it is not likely to hit 20 percent by 2010. The 2020 goal 33 percent is even farther out of reach.
The legislature passed a bill Sept. 11 requiring 33 percent by 2020 but set a number of hoops that must be jumped through that many say would prohibit state growth. Some renewable energy companies may not be able to manufacture their products in the state and they cannot purchase needed energy from outside the state. Gov. Schwarzenegger says he will veto the bill and come up with his own executive order to reach the same goals but in a more achievable manner.
If the opposition is able to win the election in 2010, the new governor would have the authority to rescind the executive order and put things right back to where they are now. The opposition wants to keep the limits set in the bill as they claim it would force companies to buy power from California and keep jobs in the state.
In either case, it appears at this moment that progress will be locked up in legal actions and nothing will happen. In the meantime, the consumer will pay the price in higher costs. Many think this same scenario will play out on a national basis. Again, the consumer will bear the brunt of the resulting energy shortage caused mostly from the inability for the leaders (?) to make a decision or reach consensus.