One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s green-building directives drives up the cost of state construction projects while delivering an uncertain environmental benefit, according to a new study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.
The study assessed Brown’s 2012 executive order directing that all state departments design new buildings in such a way that they entirely offset their energy use.
Those so-called “zero net energy” projects tend to include features that limit energy use as well as others that generate power, such as solar panels.
The analysis found that the zero net energy decree adds 17 to 29 percent to the projected cost of some new buildings.
Two years ago, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an ambitious law ordering California utility companies to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030.
It looks like they may hit that goal a decade ahead of schedule.
An annual report issued Monday by California regulators found that the state’s three big, investor-owned utilities — Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. — are collectively on track to reach the 50 percent milestone by 2020, although individual companies could exceed the mark or fall just short of it.
‘In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under 9 feet of manure.” With this 1894 prediction, the London Times warned that the era’s primary source of transportation energy—the horse—would soon create an environmental crisis.
. . . The lesson is that governments are in no position to predict technological breakthroughs, and their attempts to do so can delay innovations by entrenching inferior technologies. Diesel cars are another example. European states have been subsidizing them for decades, but diesel engines create considerably more noxious gases and particulates. Now Britain and Germany are reversing their policies and trying to phase out diesel.
Industries regulated under California’s cap-and-trade program reduced greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5% in 2016, according to new data released by state officials. Richard Corey, executive director of the California Air Resources Board, said the numbers show the state is on track to meet its emission-reduction targets in 2020 and 2030.
Switching to all clean cars would require a herculean transformation in the Golden State. They accounted for less than 5 percent of car sales in the first six months of this year, even as the state offers plum incentives to motorists. Challenges include concerns about how far clean cars can travel and a lack of charging stations.