June 18, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – In the hotly contested Governor's race, last week Republican Meg Whitman refused to debate Democrat Jerry Brown, challenging Brown to release a plan to improve California's economy. Now Brown, former Governor and current Attorney General, has responded by releasing a detailed eight-point action plan for investment in renewable energy technology and creation of over half a million green jobs--a plan he calls the "key to our economic future." See Brown's detailed plan here or scroll down for highlights.
Whitman's economic plan relies on tax cuts, tax incentives and spending cuts which she contends will boost the economy. She has also called for repeal of AB 32--a step that leaders at Clean Tech San Diego (a nonprofit formed by prominent San Diego business leaders to make our region a world leader in green-tech industries) say would cripple the emerging green and clean-tech industries in California.
“Investments in clean energy produce two to three times as many jobs per dollar as gas, oil or coal. And dollars invested in clean energy tend to stay in California, instead of going to other states or other countries,” Brown told several hundred technology executives at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in Mountain View. “Clean energy jobs and businesses have grown much faster than the economy as a whole in the past fifteen years, and have continued to grow even during the economic downturn.”
California has the ability to produce at least 1.3 million megawatts of renewable energy – roughly 22 times our current electricity capacity, according to Brown. His plan sets a goal of 20,000 megawatts in renewable energy as well as key investments in innovative efficiency technology by 2020, which will create close to half a million jobs.
At one time California had more than 90% of the world’s wind energy capacity. Today, China is the global leader in renewable energy production, with both Texas and Iowa generating more wind energy than California.
“Over the next decade, the market for renewable energy will triple to more than $2 trillion," Brown said. "California must be at the forefront of this 21st Century economic engine. We led the way once, and I know how to put California first again."
Brown’s plan calls for:
- Building 12,000 megawatts of Localized Electricity Generation
- Building 8,000 Megawatts of Large Scale Renewables and Necessary Transmission Lines
- Dealing with Peak Energy Needs and Develop energy Storage
- A Timeline to Make New Homes and Commercial Buildings Zero Net Energy
- Making Existing Buildings More Efficient
- Adopting Stronger Appliance Efficiency Standards
- Developing More Cogeneration Projects to increase combined heat and power production by 6,500 megawatts
- The Appointment of a Renewable Energy Jobs Czar
“It can take six to eight years to get a transmission line built,” Brown said. “The permitting time for these projects should be dramatically reduced, and in no case be longer than three years.”
“Probably the most significant reason people don’t make their homes more efficient is the high up-front costs of major efficiency upgrades, even though they save money in the long run.” Brown told the audience in Silicon Valley. “The State and utilities have to help local governments, businesses, homeowners finance the costs of efficiency upgrades.”
“The transition to clean energy is vital not only to our environment, but to our economic future as well,” Brown said. “The next Governor has to be focused and totally committed to capturing the innovation and the growth that will come with clean energy. I will designate one person, directly accountable to the governor, who will be responsible for ensuring that all energy job goals and deadlines are met.”
Whitman's plan to "rebuild California," released earlier in the campaign season, relies on tax cuts such as eliminating a small business start-up tax and a factory tax, increasing tax credits for research and development, eliminating the state tax on capital gains, and promoting investments for the agri-business industry. She also calls for further spending cuts to balance the state budget.