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Aug. 12 — California's goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 will require “the electrification of almost everything,” David Hochschild, a commissioner with California Energy Commission said.
“Even the biggest things in the world start small,” Hochschild said Aug. 11, highlighting several utility-scale solar projects in the state, institutional and corporate shifts to renewable energy, the development of new energy-efficient, all-electric homes and the state's effort to electrify the transportation.
The Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., now employs 15,000 workers, more than were employed at the facility when General Motors operated the plant, Hochschild said, pointing to the economic boost spurred by the state's clean energy policies.
California is on its way to achieving the goal that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) set in a 2006 executive order and that Gov. Jerry Brown (D) reaffirmed, but it still has a long way to go, he said.
Hochschild was among several speakers at Pathway to 2050, an annual event of the Advanced Energy Economy, a group of businesses and other organizations working to accelerate the growth of clean, secure and affordable energy resources.
A common message from policy makers and businesses at the event is the California's clean energy and climates policies have proved to be good economic policies. The state's policies must evolve and consider emerging new technologies to achieve the 2050 goal, they said.
“California's willingness to experiment and start a cap-and-trade program did not cause economic harm,” California Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols said. “It's proven to be durable and, along with complimentary rules, it works.”
Achieving long-range emissions reduction targets will require new measures, she said. The legislature has to set the new targets and let the administration figure out the details of the program, Nichols said.
But public participation and transparency is crucial to developing clean energy and climate policies, she said. Businesses, other interested parties and the public have to have input in the development of rules and programs.
“We spent years crafting a plan,” Nichols said. “We held workshops and spent thousands and thousands of hours gathering public support.”
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