Clean Energy Programs Could Bring an Economic Boom

Gov. Jerry Brown painted a picture of California Thursday morning. In that painting, he described a state ravaged by forest fires, disease and mass migration if lawmakers fail to renew the state’s signature program to fight climate change, which he called “a threat to organized human existence.”

Brown is pressing lawmakers to extend California’s cap-and-trade legislation, which puts a limit on carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release greenhouse gases.The legislation expires in 2020 and the current proposal would expand the program until 2030.

Brown emphasized his point telling the audience, “this is the most important vote of your life.”

“A lot of you people are going to be alive,” he said, turning to a room packed with lobbyists and advocates on both sides of the debate. “And you’re going to be alive in a horrible situation that you’re going to see mass migrations, vector diseases, forest fires, Southern California blowing up. That’s real, guys.”

The climate initiative, which needs the support of two-thirds of lawmakers, and the air quality bill, which needs a simple majority to pass, has been pushed to be voted on Monday.

Lawmakers planned to vote Thursday.

The delay “will also allow our discussion on long-term housing affordability solutions in California to catch up to the climate effort,” Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said in a joint statement.

Counties are trying to do their part to meet state standards.

State and local air boards are creating incentives for people to buy electric cars and hyrbids are being sold like never before.

Homeowners are also finding some relief in solar panels, as rebates and incentives become more plentiful for the costly energy-saving projects.

In Tulare County, the Board of Supervisions approved a home improvement program allowing property owners to make environmentally efficient and cost friendly improvements to their homes.

The approved Property Assessed Clean Energy program (PACE) operates in partnership with the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO) and has provided assistance to 456 homeowners in the county.

“HERO is a public-private partnership that can save Tulare County homeowners money on their utility bills, provide a boost to local businesses, and reduce emissions—all at no cost to public budgets,” said Greg Frost, National Communications Director for Renovate America, the company that administers HERO. “With HERO, a broad range of homeowners will now be able to access energy-saving home improvements, while benefiting from consumer safeguards that go well beyond those found with other types of home-improvement financing.”

The improvements thus far are projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14 million tons.

Energy costs take up 5 to 22 percent of the American household after-tax income, according to the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity report.

High energy bills, which make up one of the largest household energy expenditures, often make consumers choose between paying to feel comfortable in their home or paying for basic necessities such as food, gas, rent, clothes and health care.

The average total cost of energy in California is $257 a month.

Clean energy programs to boom economy

Clean energy programs could bring 8,400 new jobs and $845 million in economic growth to the San Joaquin Valley by 2024.

Community Choice Energy, CCE programs created by state law are local programs that buy and generate electricity for residents and businesses.

“This report is intended to help San Joaquin Valley’s policymakers realize the vision of Community Choice Energy as a game-changing jobs-creator and economic powerhouse,” said Ann Hancock, the Center for Climate Protection’s executive director.

The vision is to accelerate the development of large-scale solar installments already in the Central Valley, through directly acquiring utility-scale projects and feed-in-tariffs.

Through the CCE program, Tulare County has the opportunity to generate 2,296 jobs, $231,869,955 in economic output, $37,500,938 in annual local energy spending and create 232 megawatts of solar energy.

“We are pleased to see this study come out as it offers further support that adopting renewables,” said Ismael Herrera, associate director of Fresno State’s Office of Community and Economic Development, “in this case via Community Choice Energy, builds economic strength in the Central Valley.”

Clean Energy Programs Could Bring an Economic Boom, by Staff, Visalia Times-Delta, July 13, 2017.

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