Perez and Steinberg Announce Clean Energy Jobs Initiative

(Cross-posted from Groundswell, the California League of Conservation Voters blog.)

This morning Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg announced the Clean Energy Jobs Initiative, a package of four bills that focus on green jobs and clean energy growth.

Why the focus on green jobs? You might remember that a couple weeks ago I reported on a report by nonpartisan think-tank Next 10 that shows green jobs in California growing more than three times faster than overall state employment. During this time of economic recession and high unemployment in California, it makes sense for our legislative leaders to focus on the job sector that's growing relatively rapidly.

From the press release, the four bills in the package are:

  • 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard (Sen. Joe Simitian): This measure requires both public and private energy providers to procure 33 percent of California’s electricity from renewable resources (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.) by 2020.
  • Streamlined Siting for Renewable Energy Projects (Assembly Member V. Manuel Pérez): This measure reduces red tape, expediting the siting and construction of renewable energy projects throughout California.
  • Career Technical Education (Senator Darrell Steinberg): This measure aligns high school curriculum with high-demand jobs in emerging markets. Grant funding would be provided to high schools for delivering the skills and knowledge students need for successful employment in clean energy field. Such curriculum restructuring will also encourage students to stay in school because they’ll know they’re gaining real-world skills from their studies.
  • Economic Incentives to Increase Energy Efficiency (Assembly Member Nancy Skinner): This bill would use a portion of state ratepayer funds to provide loan guarantees for residents and small business owners investing in energy efficiency and renewable technologies on homes and commercial property. Reducing loan risk also reduces loan interest rates, increasing demand for energy improvements which in turn increases production and the jobs that come with it.   


CLCV is excited to see the leaders of both houses focusing on the environment. We have not yet fully reviewed the proposed legislation so we're reserving comments on most of the package details.

The one bill we wholeheartedly support is Senator Simitian's 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) bill. We've been working on this issue for years because a 33% RPS would have huge environmental and economic impacts, including:

  • displacing nearly 13 million metric tons of global warming emissions in 2020—equivalent to removing almost 3 million cars from the road, or enough to avoid 10 to 15 new large fossil fuel power plants;
  • stimulating clean technology investment and innovation, and creating “green collar jobs;”
  • diversifying the state’s energy supply and protecting consumers from natural gas price volatility;
  • helping to meet our pollution cap under the Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32;
  • promoting long-term planning for infrastructure needed to support high levels of renewable energy development; and
  • improving air quality in vulnerable communities.

Thanks to Speaker John Pérez and President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg for continuing to lead on building a greener California. We look forward to working with them on this package and to passing RPS legislation in 2011!

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