On Monday April 27th, the California Assembly held a hearing on “Covid Recovery and Economic Stimulus” as the Legislature seeks to finalize its budget for the upcoming state fiscal year. Prior to the hearing, a coalition of clean energy groups, including The Climate Center, Clean Coalition, Vote Solar, Microgrid Resources Coalition and the Center for Sustainable Energy submitted a letter to the Assembly recommending that the Legislature fund clean energy resilience infrastructure as part of any Covid-19 economic stimulus.
A group of California legislative leaders submitted a similar letter to the Governor’s office last week.
Because of the Covid crisis, California has already lost thousands of clean energy jobs –which is particularly problematic because of the continued threat of future Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS). Diesel generators — which utilities and local governments are rapidly installing — emit high levels of asthma-inducing particulate matter, as well as toxic carbon monoxide and smog-producing, climate-changing pollutants. With experts suggesting that Covid outbreaks will become seasonal, we need to address future power outages without increasing stress on our respiratory systems.
There is a smarter, more sustainable path to resilience available through clean energy, made increasingly economically feasible due to rapidly declining prices for solar and battery storage. The Climate Center’s Community Energy Resilience program, part of the Climate-Safe California campaign, is working to develop a new California energy infrastructure which is clean, affordable, reliable, equitable, and safe.
We are simultaneously facing a global health crisis, a global climate crisis, a state and national economic crisis, and a local energy resilience crisis – all of which can be addressed by continuing public investments in clean, distributed energy.