Wednesday, November 19, 2008

California’s Tougher Renewable-Energy Targets A Mixed Blessing for Greens California now has the nation’s most ambitious renewable-energy targets. Many environmentalists might wish it didn’t. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set California’s renewable-energy target at 33% by 2020; right now, the state’s target is to get 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Gov. Schwarzenegger’s executive order clears the way for the state legislature to draft new laws making the target binding.Why might that be bad news for environmentalists? Because increasing the use of renewable energy means the state must build new transmission lines to carry the juice, even if those pass through environmentally-sensitive areas that could still be preserved if renewable-energy targets were lower. In announcing the new goal, Gov. Schwarzenegger specifically targeted environmental opposition to new projects: “[W]e won’t meet that goal doing business as usual, where environmental regulations are holding up environmental progress in some cases. This executive order will clear the red tape for renewable projects and streamline the permitting and siting of new plants and transmission lines.”

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