Legislators: new laws make anything possible

Earlier this week, the California Assembly passed a bill that would force utilities in that state to get a third of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, setting one of the most aggressive standards in the world.

Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign the bill despite the fact that it give utilities just nine years to meet the standard.

How big a deal is it? asks the San Francisco Chronicle. “Well, according to Peter Miller, a senior scientist at NRDC, ‘As a result of the RPS program, renewable energy generation in California in 2020 will be roughly equal to total current U.S. renewable generation, and supply enough clean energy to power nearly 9 million homes’ or, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, drive 3 million cars.”

The paper adds that “supporters say the aggressive standard could generate roughly 500,000 new green collar jobs in the next several decades,” though it adds no supporting data to back up the claim.

The Coyote Blog is incredulous:

This is an absolutely amazing case of wishful thinking. … The California legislature can legislate a unicorn in every garage but that does not mean it will happen by 2020.

Forgetting for a moment the absolutely horrible cost and/or reliability position of most ‘green’ energy technologies, there is no way, absolutely no way, that California can permit and construct a replacement for a third of its electric generation in nine years. And I shudder to even think how large of a broken window obsoleting and forcing replacement of a third of electrical generation capacity will be.

Here’s something green advocates either don’t want to accept or simply choose to ignore: a single 555-megawatt gas-fired power plant in California generates more electricity per year than all 13,000 of the state’s wind turbines. And that gas-fired plant occupies just 15 acres.

There are tremendous expenses associated with forcing utilities to get energy from renewable sources, including the development of massive amounts of land for such things as wind turbines, solar farms and other alternative energy sources. 

Pursuing the green dream presents opportunities for wonderful platitudes, but don’t think it doesn’t come without some very real costs, as well.

(HT: Coyote Blog)

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