Opinion

To California’s next governor: Think clean economy

Wind-driven electricity generators in California. Stockton is in the background. (Photo: Sundry Photography, via Shutterstock)

California’s next governor has a tremendous opportunity to build on the state’s impressive record of leadership in pioneering advanced energy policy, innovative technology, and economic growth.

As Election Day approaches, we at Advanced Energy Economy are working with business leaders across the state to make sure the next governor understands that leadership in energy policy is essential to our economic future.

We need our state’s next chief executive to be a #CleanEconomyGovernor.

Energy storage, advanced vehicles, decarbonized buildings, demand response, smart grid – these are just some of the advanced energy products and services

Our research shows that California leads the nation with 542,000 advanced energy jobs. By the end of this year, the state’s advanced energy industry expects to have boosted those employment numbers by 10 percent.  Along with those jobs has come investment.

California’s landmark energy and climate policies have driven more than $49 billion in public and private investments in the state’s economy.

Investment is driving technology innovation and implementation. Almost 40 percent of California’s electricity is produced from renewable sources. These renewable energy options are increasingly cost-competitive and in high demand throughout the West. California is ranked second in the nation in energy efficiency programs and policies, and we lead the nation in electric vehicle sales, with over 470,000 clean passenger vehicles on the road.

Tomorrow’s energy landscape will look very different from today’s, as the world moves to cleaner, more advanced energy solutions. The first mover in an emerging market can reap considerable benefits. California is already doing so, and business and labor alike have a lot to gain from future leadership, as the advanced energy sector continues to expand.

The next governor will lead California during a critical time for implementation of the state’s energy and climate policies. There is also increased interest from the western states to take action and adopt advanced energy policies in the absence of federal leadership.

In meeting this demand, the need for innovative technologies abounds, as does the business opportunity. Energy storage, advanced vehicles, decarbonized buildings, demand response, smart grid – these are just some of the advanced energy products and services that are ready to take off in the marketplace, and California companies are well placed to provide them.

Even as innovation and economics push us toward advanced energy, what happens in Sacramento still matters. California has set targets for 100 percent emission-free electricity and a carbon-neutral economy by 2045. To meet these goals, state leaders will have to work their way through a packed agenda—from zero-emission vehicles to energy efficiency to creating a smarter, more dynamic grid.

The vision for our clean energy future is clear, but the road there could get rocky. We need a governor who can navigate obstacles, keep us on track, and make sure we keep moving forward – and keep growing California’s advanced energy economy.

Clean energy leadership is good for business, good for our state’s economy, good for the people of California, and good for the world. Our next governor must make sure that when it comes to building an advanced energy economy, California stays in the lead.

Editor’s Note: Amisha Rai is senior director of California policy at Advanced Energy Economy, a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. 


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