California’s Energy Situation Can be Met with Renewables

The environmental group, Sierra Club, has expressed concerns over California Governor Davis” new energy plan, arguing that renewable energy is a key element of solving the current crisis.

SACRAMENTO, California – The environmental group, Sierra Club, has expressed concerns over California Governor Davis’ new energy plan, arguing that renewable energy is a key element of solving the current crisis. “Californians need energy and clean air and water,” says Carl Zichella. “The devil is in the details of the plan. We must ensure we have aggressive energy conservation and efficiency, help get the cleaner power plants on line, and prevent any increase in air pollution emissions.” “We can meet our energy needs with sensible conservation and improved energy efficiency, getting cleaner power plants on line, and more investment in renewable sources of energy,” he says. “We shouldn’t panic and take actions that increase asthma and pollute our air.” “If we act sensibly, we can protect our health and environment, and still have plenty of electricity,” he continues. “We plan to watchdog the details and implementation of the Governor’s plan to ensure we protect our families and our future.” Sierra Club say Davis’ plan may allow numerous peaking plants and that aggressive conservation measures should be pursued before peaking plants are built. “Only the least polluting peaking plants should be allowed on line, and then only as a last resort,” says the group. Peaking plants can be up to five times more polluting then other facilities, and Davis’ plan could allow large numbers of them to come on line and significantly impact air quality in the state. Sierra Club favours a balanced response to California’s shortage that will increase clean and efficient generating capacity, increase the supply of renewable energy, and increase the use of energy efficient technology and energy conservation. California obtains only 10 percent of its power from renewable energy resources at competitive prices, notes Zichella. “Environmental protections are not to blame for the current energy shortage, and should not be weakened as a result,” he adds. “Environmental protections have not delayed any new power plants.” Sierra Club did not support deregulation and has not delayed any new power plants over the last decade, and he says the opposition to new capacity has come from utilities and industry. The California power shortage is the result of a flawed deregulation plan compounded by mistakes made by the utilities.

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