Human Events Blog

The California Greenout

Impatient with the lagging pace of California’s economic collapse, Governor Jerry Brown decided to speed things up today.  The Associated Press reports Brown “signed legislation requiring California utilities to get one-third of their power from renewable sources, giving the state the most aggressive alternative energy mandate in the U.S.”  This is an increase from current laws that require California utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources.

Speaking at a solar panel manufacturing plant in San Jose, Governor Brown declared, “There are people who think we can drill our way to happiness and prosperity.  Instead of just taking oil from thousands of miles away, we’re taking the sun and converting it.”  It’s always fun to watch liberals use their solar panels to set straw men on fire.  There’s no energetic movement to make America more dependent on foreign oil.  We want to develop our own energy resources.

This is all about picking a government-created industry as a “winner” in the marketplace, at the expense of California taxpayers and businesses.  As the AP report puts it, “supporters of the higher standards say it will reassure investors and keep money flowing in to develop alternative energy sources.”  It’s always reassuring to have the government command its hapless citizens to buy your product, using the compulsive force of law. 

The reason those government-subsidized “green” companies were getting nervous is that California was approaching the existing goal of producing 20 percent of the state’s power with renewable sources.  Dan Adler, president of the California Clean Energy Fund, explained that “because utilities are close to meeting the previous requirement for renewable power, the investors who provide the money to build hundreds of megawatts of generating capacity under construction this year would have put away their checkbooks in the next year or two.” 

The governor solved this problem by simply decreeing that demand for renewable power should rise to 33%.  See how easy that was?  Jobs will be created all over the place!

Of course, since there is no real demand for this “renewable power,” consumers will pay more to support this mixture of green ideology and crony capitalism.  Business groups say the cost of electricity could rise by more than 7%, and since these “renewable” sources are far less reliable and efficient than the hated “fossil fuels,” the quality of service will inevitably decline.  England already had a nice taste of this new, primitive lifestyle last year, when its vast fields of wind turbines froze up, causing a dramatic loss of power during a cold snap.

California citizens and businesses which object to this new energy regime have no recourse except to move out of the state.  The designated “green” companies will get rich, and everyone else will pay for it.  There’s some wiggle room built into the legislation, which allows “standards to be relaxed if not enough renewable power or transmission capacity is available to meet them.”  That means those lucky “green” companies won’t even be required to meet the artificial demand that was created for them.  I guess it’s all a small price to pay for saving the Golden State from Meg Whitman’s illegal alien nanny.