Jerry Brown and 16 U.S. Governors Vow to Ramp Up Renewable Energy

Under Governor Jerry Brown's leadership, California has adopted the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country. (Justin Short)

Governor Jerry Brown and 16 other governors say they’ll pull together under a new pact to speed up the transition to clean energy and transportation in their states.

Called a “work in process,” the Governors’ Accord for a New Energy Future, lacks specific, measurable targets. The agreement uses broad language, saying the states will “embrace” and “encourage” clean energy options.

Brown pointed to three of the cooperative’s broad goals that he says will benefit from interstate cooperation: a “highly sophisticated” regional energy grid, combined state purchasing power for zero-emission vehicles and joint lobbying of the federal government for research and development money aimed at energy storage, clean fuels and the grid.

Renewable energy in CA chart

The participating states did not necessarily commit to signing on to Brown’s Under 2 MOU, under which states and regions that have set specific targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with California. The memorandum is currently signed or “endorsed” by 127 jurisdictions representing 27 nations.

Nor does the agreement specifically mention climate change. According to Brown, the governors chose to bypass the partisan controversy over the issue.

“We’re going to leave that behind and work on what we can work on, and that’s the renewable energy accord,” Brown told reporters in a conference call. “Does it do everything? No. But nothing ever does in politics.”

The agreement includes all of California’s neighboring states except Arizona. All the others are on the East Coast, except for Minnesota and Hawaii.

Under Brown, California has developed some of the most ambitious clean energy goals in the country, aiming to generate half of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

In 2014, California’s utility-scale solar production was more than three times the output of Arizona — the second-ranking state — and more than all other states combined.

The states that are signed on say they expect to meet “shortly” to discuss specific actions.

Jerry Brown and 16 U.S. Governors Vow to Ramp Up Renewable Energy 18 February,2016Lindsey Hoshaw

  • BRYAN HERRING

    As America experiences an energy glut, with the cost of the domestic production for coal and natural gas going down, Americans still cling to the perception that renewable energy is cheaper and more dependable.

    Even Bill Gates, who embraces technology, suggested that “current renewables are dead-end technologies. They are unreliable. Battery storage is inadequate. Wind and solar depend on the weather. The cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is beyond astronomical.”

    So when President Obama recently pledged that the U.S. will generate 20 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2030, it made for a great sound bite.

    But like most of the president’s commitments, he never factored in the costs.

    It is estimated that to meet Obama’s pledge, it will cost America some $2 trillion dollars.

    • UCSBcpa

      Actually, the curve is not nearly as expensive as you would like it us to believe – EIA, January, 2016 – http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm – Interesting, Wind is HALF (yes, that is 50%, or divide by 2, or whatever math you like to use) the cost of coal installations. Even given the ultra cheap pricing of natural gas, wind beats all forms of natural gas as well. – Hmm.
      However, wind is actually only the second cheapest form of energy….geothermal is actually the cheapest – yet another renewable energy source!
      And this is assuming there was no tax credit to wind! – We have 30% tax credit for the next few years. So, I think it is safe to say that there will not be one coal plant built (check their market valuations if you don’t believe) me in the next 5 years (if ever again).
      Solar – if one were to look at the EIA’s 2012 – yes, long, very long time ago – reports, you would have notice that solar PV is (was) the most expensive energy source. However, fast forward just 4 years, and look what we have now: solar is CHEAPER than “clean coal” as well as even advanced coal!
      I think you may need to re-visit your facts and post something more closer to reality.
      The best part of this? – Solar and wind pricing keeps coming down; whereas natural gas and coal pricing could only go up.

      • BRYAN HERRING

        If wind and solar are so cheap, why is wind 5% and solar 1% of the nation energy? facts, VERY SORRY.
        WITH OUT TAX CREDIT THEY CAN’T COMPETE.

        • UCSBcpa

          You capping all your letters and screaming and jumping up and down does not change the facts that EIA, who know much more than you do, says otherwise. I am sorry you refuse to research your obtuse thoughts.
          Why? – Because coal plants have been around for 75 years, and can be replaced with natural gas.
          Over the last decade, more capital investment has been made into wind+solar than nuclear+coal+natural gas by a factor of 5 to 1. The most recent year, 2015, this difference slides to 10 to 1.
          Please write to EIA and let them know you know more.

          • BRYAN HERRING

            If wind and solar are so cheap, why is wind 5% and solar 1% of the nation energy?

          • UCSBcpa

            Just like life, it is not where you have been but where you will go. Keep thinking this, it really does not matter. I would invest all you can into coal, it really is the next big thing. I mean, according to you, it is much, much larger than wind+solar, so clearly it is more important and more valuable; so please, invest away.

          • BRYAN HERRING

            In 1977 JIMMY CARTER said solar is the future. In 2014 solar was 1% of the nations energy, WHEN DOES THE FUTURE GET HERE…??

Author

Lindsey Hoshaw

Lindsey Hoshaw is an interactive producer for KQED Science. Before joining KQED, Lindsey was a science correspondent for The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Forbes and Scientific American. On Twitter @lindseyhoshaw

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor