Several environmental groups in California are concerned that the proposal by Governor Gray Davis to increase electricity generating capacity will impact adversely on air quality standards by relaxing environmental regulations designed to protect human health and the environment.
SANTA MONICA, California – “The current power crisis was not caused by environmental regulations and will not be fixed by relaxing those regulations,” says Matt Petersen, executive director of Global Green USA. “To provide reliable electricity in the coming year and decades ahead, California needs increased support for conservation, efficiency and renewable generation.” The state legislature must support the most cost effective and immediate solution to the energy crisis: conservation, efficiency and distributed renewables, he says. To reduce the threat of rolling black outs, the $1.3 billion in Senator Sher’s SBX5 should be supported immediately with amended language requiring a majority of the programs to be administered by the California Energy Commission and delivered by cities and regional agencies, ensuring funds are put where they are needed most to lower energy use and energy bills: our communities, homes and businesses. Additional financial incentives for solar photovoltaic and other renewable energy sources should be provided to reduce pollution and increase reliability in the high-tech economy. Senator Brulte’s SBX17 provides a significant tax credit for residential and small business customers, but large commercial, industrial and other energy users should be provided significant incentives to install these systems, he adds. Barriers and financial disincentives should be removed, such as the inability to receive credit for energy produced on-site, a process known as net metering for which there is currently no legislation in the special session, and there should be a significant increase in the money spent on public education and awareness of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy programs from the current $10 million proposed for the Dept. of Consumer Affairs in SBX5 to $75 million over the next 18 months. “While Governor Davis also announced support for incentives for distributed, clean renewable energy sources, his proposals are far too limited,” says Petersen. “We need a robust strategy that makes renewable energy a priority along with energy efficiency and conservation. “Clean, renewable sources of energy will go on-line much quicker than fossil-fuel plants,” he explains. “The Governor and the legislature should be advocating an investment of several hundreds of millions of dollars in this year’s budget to support solar PV and even fuel cells for homes and commercial buildings.” Global Green USA promotes renewable energy solutions from solar PV, fuel cells, wind and geothermal, along with energy efficiency and conservation in buildings and homes.