California has consistently led the nation over the past decade in its adoption of green energy technologies. California ranked first in 2010 amongst all states in solar panel installations. This week, the state assembly approved a measure that mandates utilities to increase the percentage of electricity derived from clean, green energy sources.
The bill would force utilities to provide 33 percent of their power from renewable green energy by 2020 and now only awaits approval from the governor. Currently, laws require utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from green energy sources by 2020. Critics of the bill say the mandate is unreasonable considering all of California’s utilities failed to meet previous goals stipulating that 20 percent of their electricity come from renewable green energy by 2010.
Supporters of the bill, on the other hand, assert that Japan and the continuing radiation containment issues, the U.S. should be more focused on weaning itself off fossil fuels and other energy sources aside from wind power and solar power. Moreover, environmentalists claim the mandate would force the creation of around 10,000 new jobs in the time leading up to the 2020 date.
Solar power and wind power technologies have advanced greatly in the recent years and the requirement should be country wide and not isolated to California. Where solar power is less viable, usually wind power is a better solution and vise versa. In California, the adoption of both seems to have two hurdles, financial and societal. Both of which the Japanese nuclear disaster highlights. What will be the human cost in Fukushima for some nuclear power? The environmental cost of fukushima? In the worst solar disaster ever, someone might get squished by a solar array, or electrifried but they will not glow in the dark and set off geiger counters.