States Explore Policy Options in Promoting Clean and Efficient Energy

November 12, 2008

Oregon
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has unveiled a suite of policies to address global climate change and support the state's renewable energy and clean technology industries. His proposals include instituting a cap and trade system for carbon emissions, improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential construction, and tax credits for energy-conscious investments. The governor hopes to see the climate plan passed by the legislature in the coming year.

The governor's recommendations include:

  • Participating in a regional cap and trade program that would go into effect in 2012;
  • Giving local governments bonding authority for energy efficiency projects;
  • Expanding the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) and creating a BETC Energy Fund to support renewable energy projects; and
  • Creating an incentive pilot program for solar energy that would pay for the electricity produced by solar projects, instead of a traditional program offering capital investments.

Governor Kulongoski says the plan will cost an estimated $10 million, and will be possible despite the current economic crisis. The governor maintains that by investing in new energy technologies and energy efficiency, the state can play a vital role in reinventing the national and regional economy.

Read Governor Kulongoski's climate change agenda at: http://governor.oregon.gov/Gov/pdf/climate_change_agenda_1008_final.pdf

New Jersey
Governor Jon Corzine October 16 addressed a rare joint session of the state legislature to unveil a multi-faceted plan to provide immediate assistance for residents and statewide long-term economic growth options to coax the state out of the current national economic recession.  Among the governor's proposals to promote a green economy is the creation of a Clean Energy Manufacturing Fund financed with $60 million through 2012 that the Economic Development Authority will soon implement to address the need to assist the advancement of renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies; and an Edison Renewable Energy Technologies Fund that will provide grants through the Commission on Science and Technology to New Jersey companies of $100,000 to $500,000 for proof-of-concept research and development and ancillary activities necessary to commercialize identified renewable energy technologies and innovative technologies that significantly increase energy efficiency.

The governor's complete economic recovery plan is available at: http://www.state.nj.us/governor/home/plan.html.

California
A new report finds that California energy efficiency policies over the last 35 years have been responsible for the creation of 1.5 million jobs and $45 billion in salaries and wages. The report, authored by University of California, Berkeley professor David Roland-Holst, examines the costs and benefits of energy efficiency policies on the state economy. Though these policies have somewhat slowed growth in traditional energy industries like oil, gas and electric power, they have added more than 50 new jobs for each job deferred in those sectors, according to the report.

Roland-Holst, the director of Berkeley's Center for Energy, Resources and Economic Sustainability, argues that the state should continue to pursue aggressive energy efficiency policies and standards for the good of the state's economy. Of particular concern is the Global Warming Solutions Act, a measure passed by the state's legislature two years ago. The original law began the planning process for an initiative that would require the state to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  California's Energy Commission and Public Utilities Commission recently approved a blueprint for the act.

The report recommends redoubling the state's efforts through that initiative, which it claims could create 403,000 new jobs and $76 billion in additional gross state product by 2020.

Read the Next 10 report "Energy Efficiency, Innovation, and Job Creation in California" at: http://www.next10.org/research_eeijc.html

California, New Jersey, Oregonenergy