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Tech Talkin’ Govs: CA, KY, VT Govs Pitch Energy Goals, Higher Ed Reform To Spur Economic Growth

January 08, 2015

Now in its 15th year, SSTI's Tech Talkin' Govs series has returned as governors across the country formally convene the 2014 legislative sessions. The series highlights new and expanded TBED proposals from governors' State of the State, Budget and Inaugural addresses. The first edition includes excerpts from speeches delivered in California, Kentucky, and Vermont. 

This year, several governors have combined their inaugural addresses with the traditional address to the state legislature. Remarks from these speeches related to technology, innovation and economic development will be included in the roundups.

Gov. Jerry Brown, Inaugural Address, Jan. 5, 2015

“… I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years: increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources; reduce today's petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; and, double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.

“We must also reduce the relentless release of methane, black carbon and other potent pollutants across industries. And we must manage farm and rangelands, forests and wetlands so they can store carbon. All of this is a very tall order. It means that we continue to transform our electrical grid, our transportation system and even our communities.

“I envision a wide range of initiatives: more distributed power, expanded rooftop solar, micro-grids, an energy imbalance market, battery storage, the full integration of information technology and electrical distribution and millions of electric and low-carbon vehicles. How we achieve these goals and at what pace will take great thought and imagination mixed with pragmatic caution. It will require enormous innovation, research and investment. And we will need active collaboration at every stage with our scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, businesses and officials at all levels.”


Gov. Steve Beshear, State of the Commonwealth, Jan. 7, 2015

“Step two in building a stronger workforce has been improving our schools so every graduate is prepared for success.“

“… We’ve also smoothed the transition from two-year colleges to four-year degree programs to save students time and money.

“And recognizing that the four-year university path isn’t the best route for everyone, we’ve made our career and technical programs more rigorous and applicable to real-life jobs that demand high-level technical knowledge.

“These aren’t the so-called “shop classes” of yesterday but modern training with a tough academic foundation.

“We’re also working to improve the talent pipeline through modern apprentice programs like KY FAME, which combines work experience in advanced manufacturing with college classes.

“More than a dozen Central Kentucky manufacturers are participating in KY FAME, and it will be expanding soon. …”

 “… We need to move quickly to implement the recommendations of the Dual Credit Task Force, helping students earn their degrees quicker and at less cost. …”

“… Another piece of legislation would help us advance the goals of SOAR, the Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative. …”

“… We have made enormous strides on projects like expanding high-speed Broadband, creating a $2.6 million loan pool for entrepreneurs, four-laning the Mountain Parkway and establishing a new Kentucky Innovation Network office in Pikeville. …”

“… Last session we set aside $2 million in single-county coal severance dollars in each year of the budget for a regional development fund to make strategic investments in Appalachia. 

“We need to provide a governing mechanism for that fund … and we need to plan for a sustained effort to diversify the economy in our eastern region.  …”

“… This past June, Attorney General Jack Conway and I announced a legal settlement that brought stability and certainty to Kentucky’s receipt of tobacco settlement funds. 

“The agreement gives Kentucky $57.2 million more in these payments over the next three years than budgeted, money that has been earmarked for agriculture diversification, early childhood development and health-care improvement, including cancer research. …”

“… But we need to update our statutes – like many other states have done – to protect receipt of these payments long into the future.


Gov. Peter Shumlin, Inaugural Address, Jan. 8, 2015

“… Today, I am proposing we take the next bold step together, an Energy Innovation Program that will drive our economy in the next decade and beyond. This Energy Innovation Program will replace our SPEED program, set to expire in 2017, with smart, forward-thinking renewable electricity targets for Vermont’s utilities. 

“Our proposal is not just a copycat Renewable Portfolio Standard that forces us to buy more costly renewable electricity without an eye toward lowering overall energy costs for Vermonters already struggling to pay their bills. Instead, our Energy Innovation Program will promote clean energy and less expensive total energy costs for Vermonters by putting a priority on improving countless more homes … and adding hundreds of megawatts of new community-scale, locally generated clean energy to our portfolio. In addition to the eHomes project, we have many other great examples of pilots and partnerships that the Energy Innovation Program will help encourage, from Vermont Electric’s community solar projects, to Stowe Electric’s vehicle recharging project, to Washington Electric’s solar water heater discounts, to Burlington Electric’s smart meter energy savings programs.

“This new program will create over 1,000 additional jobs, put money in Vermonters’ pockets with a net savings of hundreds of millions of dollars on energy bills, and cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 million metric tons through 2032, on the way to achieving nearly a quarter of the greenhouse gas emissions reductions we need in order to meet our 2050 goal. 

“If we work together to enact this legislation, it will mark our single biggest step so far toward reaching our climate and renewable energy goals. Jobs, energy savings, and emissions reductions make this program a true win for our economy and our environment. I ask for your support during this legislative session.“


California, Kentucky, Vermont