Last week I mentioned that a perfect storm is about to change the game on our energy future and, therefore, our environment and economy (the elements in this case being climate change; fossil fuel shortages; and epic world-wide competition for energy). I listed three technologies that will allow us to weather this storm, game-changers, and promised two more this week.
California & Arnold Schwarzenegger
Ok, they’re not companies or technologies, but California is changing the game faster than any other force on the planet. Yes, I’m a Californian and have been a part of the state policy machine that Schwarzenegger assembled to force these changes (hmmm…rise of the machines??), but being as unbiased as I can be, this is the place to watch.
California policy will drive innovation and investment around the world, so if you want to know where opportunities will exist, watch what we do. Think about just 3 of the policies and programs California launched under the Governator:
The Million Solar Roof Initiative – – $3.2 billion for solar and requirements that utilities buy excess capacity from those residential and business rooftops.
Clean and Renewable Energy – – by law, 20% of electricity must come from renewables, like wind and solar, by 2010 and we’re targeting 1/3 by 2020. At the same time, a little-known bill passed in 2006 (Assembly Bill 1368) that says California utilities may not buy electricity from coal fired plants that are not as clean as the cleanest fossil fueled generation (meaning natural gas these days). These measures will push more deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology and are being copied by more than 30 other states as they tackle energy and climate issues.
The Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 – – California had a clean air act and a clean water act before the federal versions in the early 1970s, so we’ve done it again by blazing a trail for slashing greenhouse gases. States are copying this law too, especially in the absence of federal regulation, and putting four corners on this problem means that innovative solutions will emerge so that the state will meet its mandated greenhouse gas reduction goals.
All of this is driving investment (and making those investments pay off) in new forms of efficient lighting, HVAC, window and insulation, green building materials, solar panels, wind turbines, biomass converters, and a host of related technologies. Bet heavily on these game changers in advance of the entire country following California and its muscular Governor!