25 March 2012

Governor Jerry Brown Discusses Renewable Energy at Wall Street Journal ECOnomics

Photo Credit: WSJ
By Mary Vincent
Twitter @MaryVincent

Governor Jerry Brown spoke on 40 Years of California Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Policy at the Wall Street Journal ECOnomics Conference Friday, March 23, 2012.

Brown has very unique insight, more than most governors because he was first elected Governor in 1974 and reelected in 1978 and 2010. He said he was the youngest Governor ever elected in the 20th Century and is the oldest Governor elected in the 21st Century. More information about his long history with California and worldwide is here.

Some quotes from his Wall Street Journal ECOnomics talk include:

  • Ronald Reagan doubled the State income tax and that was one of the contributing factors to our $6 billion dollar surplus... or at least it wasn't an impediment.
  • It was an exciting time coming out of the oil embargo and there was that sense of vulnerability so that gave a real impetus ..we have to do something about efficiency and alternatives to oil"
  • (With regards to) Pollution,  California has always been a Leader... if we go back to it, it's not been a Democratic or Republican idea... it started with Richard Nixon in the White House and Ronald Reagan as Governor of California. California got special permission to be able to set its own vehicle emissions standards and that going forward allowed California to set the first greenhouse gas emissions standards for automobiles and ultimately that was adopted by the Federal Government after many lawsuits and lots of battles.

Efficiency Standards lasted through time via Title 24.

  • By the mid-80s California had over 90% of the Wind Generated Electrical Energy in the whole world. Then the oil prices collapsed, solar energy became a "no-no" in certain quarters and we lost alot of ground. One thing that really did last though was the Efficiency Standards - that was Title 24.
  • California adopted very strenuous building standards that were tailored to different climate regions in the state and those standards have been updated. As a result, I think reasonable estimates show that Californian's have saved about $50 Billion over that time ... lots of jobs created and we set the pace of the nation. 
  • We did also lay the foundation for renewable energy co-generation which wasn't always renewables but it was 3rd party independent power, more deregulating the markets. So California, not only in alternative energy, but a different model from the utility model was definitely attempted and pushed in many ways. But again that was more than 30 years ago...
  • The point is: you have to think big, thing long, but you don't get there overnight.

Here's a video excerpt below:

Additional ECOnomics 2012 Articles:
1. Governor Brown Announces $120 Million Settlement to Fund Electric Car Charging Stations Across California