Greening And Cleaning The Great State Of California

A new campaign to increase renewable energy and beef up the transmission grid has been launched in response to Gov. Brown's efforts to green California.

The program, called Clean California, is in response to Brown's call for 12,000 megawatts of clean local energy by 2020, according to the initiative's Web site. Among its objectives: make it easier to site projects, contract for power purchases and connect to the grid.

The group contends that existing state policies support large-scale power plants far from communities and local rooftop solar systems, but not necessarily in some other good locations such as landfills, parking lots, commercial property and farms. Clean California wants to help fill that gap using, among other things, feed-in tariffs, according to this story by grist.

The cited benefits: job creation, more private investment and economic boost to local and state budgets.

An impressive coalition of organizations and businesses has signed on as partners in the Clean California effort. It includes the Los Angeles Business Council; University of California, Berkeley; U.S. Green Building Council; and Westinghouse Solar.

Also included is Sol Orchard, an independent power producer with a presence in the San Joaquin Valley. Headed by Jeff Brothers, the company's most recent project helped a Hanford pistachio grower, Nichols Farms, use solar power to power 70% of his farming operations.

“A CLEAN Program will give new companies like Sol Orchard the market certainty to rapidly install more clean energy projects and hire more workers in local communities,” Brothers says on the Clean California Web site.

How far the clean-energy movement gets in California remains to be seen, but Brown recently signed a law setting a 33% renewable energy standard, and pressure to do more is coming from big business, the military and even professional sports.