BALTIMORE — Requiring clean energy will help California’s economy, not hurt it.
One obvious reason is that electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are extremely efficient technologies that improve the state’s economy by saving consumers a lot of money in fuel costs.
The benefits of electric vehicles are well known. Driving an EV decreases the nation’s dependence on oil, reduces fuel costs over time and cuts pollution.
And, most EVs on the road in the United States are also made in America. For example, a report from Argonne National Laboratory found a higher fraction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were assembled in the United States than non-PEVs in 2017.
Achieving the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets would support a $76 billion increase in California’s gross state product as well as a $48 billion increase in real household incomes and the creation of 403,000 new efficiency and climate-driven jobs.
California already gets more clean energy venture capital investment than all states combined.
Alternative energy is by far the fastest growing segment of the energy industry today. Wind and solar alone account for more than half of the new electricity capacity installed in the U.S. today, and they’re growing domestically and around the world.
In 2009, while other sectors saw little or no investment, the clean technology sector in California received $2.1 billion, 60 percent of the total in North America.
Venture capital investments there totaled nearly $6.6 billion from 2006 to 2008, about five times more than its nearest competitor.
Also, venture capital investment produces thousands of new jobs. Each $100 million in venture capital funding helps create 2,700 jobs, $500 million in annual revenues for two decades and many indirect jobs.
The ban on fossil fuel energy likely will increase venture capital investment in California, according to a study by the National Venture Capital Association
One major reason is that green technologies produce new jobs faster. Investments in green technologies create jobs at a higher rate than investments in comparable conventional technologies.
And the first beneficiaries of green job growth will be workers who are currently unemployed, according to a report from UC Berkeley.
When it comes to electricity generation in the U.S., the Department of Energy’s 2017 Energy and Employment Report found that the solar industry now employs more people than coal, oil, and gas combined.
More than 373,000 Americans worked part or full time in solar energy, and just over 260,000 of them — or about 70 percent — spent a majority of their time on solar projects.
Most solar energy jobs were in installation, construction and manufacturing, as the relatively new industry continued to add capacity.
According to the Sierra Club’s analysis, nearly every state in the country has more jobs in clean energy than fossil fuels; just nine states have more jobs in fossil fuels than in clean energy.
The green economy could soon become the nation’s fastest-growing job segment, accounting for roughly 10 percent of new jobs over the next 20 years — up to 4.2 million new green jobs — with 500,000 in California alone, according to a recent report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Conservative pundits love to lampoon Jerry Brown, nicknaming him “Gov. Moonbeam” for his infectious enthusiasm for new ideas.
Brown hasn’t figured out how to create energy from moonbeams yet, but he’s doing a pretty good job with sun beams and wind gusts. From where I sit he deserves applause, not boos.
Whitt Flora, an independent journalist, covered the White House for The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch and was chief congressional correspondent for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. Readers may write him at 319 Shagbark Rd., Middle River, Md. 21220. This essay is available to Tribune News Service subscribers. TNS did not subsidize the writing of this column; the opinions are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of TNS or its editors
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