Saudi Arabia of the West

CJC's picture


On Thursday the California State Senate passed a measure enshrining the goal of drawing a third of the state's power from renewable sources. This is a worthy and ambitious goal, especially compared with the European target of 20% by 2020, set at the underwhelming Copenhegan conference last year.

However, lets push a little harder on this. At the moment it is a 'Goal'. Lets make it a binding target. In fact, lets try and exceed 33% as many European countries are surpassing their targets. They are now set to reach 34%.

All of this takes dedication and resources but it is a long term investment that will pay huge dividends. But if we invest heavily in green tech and subsidize clean energy making it competative with traditional sources then we can make a massive difference. Furthermore, California is already well endowed with green tech firms, if we work actively to grow this sector California could be the renewable energy centre of the world, the green Saudi Arabia of the West! We have the universities, the venture capitalists and the Silicon Valley smarts always looking for the future of business. 

Lets make California business Green.

Bernadette's picture

Green Energy Goals Could Lead to Better Economy

I think this is a great idea!

As CJC mentioned, especially in the Bay Area, we have so many tools that can help us build upon the green sector that already exists. Furthermore, if there are more companies and groups built upon our green sector foundation, we can create more jobs and investment opportunities, thus helping our economy! It's very win-win.

Phil Ting's picture

Integrated Response

As with any audacious goal, we need a complete integrated response.  We need to have more clean energy, more public transit and faster public transit so we can more clean transit options, bike paths and electric cars.  Energy efficiency is rarely discussed but has the biggest bang for your energy savings buck.  Lastly, Bernadette is right!  Green jobs are our future!  We need to encourage these industries and create more jobs.'s picture

Goals are nice but binding resolutions are better

I am a firm believer that goals are nice and look good on paper but to get our state to be like the "Saudi Arabia of the west" we need to make it a law with teeth. Businesses can't ignore regulations without dealing with the consequences or use positive reinforcement and offer more tax incentives such as "GosolarSF." Goals can be missed and but regulations or tax incentives will continue to be more effective. 

gcotter's picture

Tax Gasolene

California and the US Government need to increase the tax on every barrel of oil imported from abroad or pumped here in the US.  When the price of oil goes up, the price of gasolene goes up.  When the price of gasolene goes up, people switch away from driving and take public transit.  Additionally, if the price of gasolene goes up enough, the consumer demands more fuel efficient vehicles from the manufacturers.  

As long as America has cheap gas -- and $4.00 per gallon is cheap when compared to Europe and other countries where $7.00 to $9.00 is the norm -- Americans will continue to buy over powered, over sized, over weight vehicles.  Look around - how many big SUVs and almost-as-big "crossovers" do you see in SF?  Who living in SF - or the bay area for that matter - needs cars that size?  

I am appalled at the Ford Pick-up commercials on TV that laud the 350 horse-power engine.  My SmartCar has a 71 horse-power engine (not a typo - 71) and can manage the hills of SF, the freeway, and all my driving needs.  I bought it because of the small parking footprint, but the good gas milage is great too.

By taxing oil we can drive up the cost of gasolene so that people will be more driven (pun intended) to seek public transportation or move to more Earth friendly automobiles.


harris2's picture

Waiting for the Green (technology)

Amnesia appears to be a profound rule of green technology and pursuing environmentally friendly power. It seems that every couple of years, and with increased repition, that green technology is discussed, debated, and idealized as an alternative energy. The approaching summer beckons not only high gasoline prices, but most likely a return to discussions about green technology and alternative energy for transportation and industry. San Francisco, and California in general, are some of the few places where such ideas of green tech and alternative energy can be realistic policies. But until something like a gas tax, or a binding resolution (which are also hit or miss) creates a push toward greener fuels and alternative energy, gasoline will continue to rule the economy.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137