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By Tim Hunt

Green at what cost?

Uploaded: Mar 6, 2012

Termed-out Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman delivered her final State of the City address to the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce last month.
Inevitability these are positive speeches, citing accomplishments during the past year—or in this case—over the past seven-plus years.
There certainly have been completed capital projects—a favorite of politicians—to cite.
Throughout her public life, Jennifer has proclaimed the environmental—Mother Earth—message. So, naturally, she pointed out the city's climate change plan and the electric vehicle charging stations as great progress.
What was missing—not surprisingly—was just what it would be required to meet the AB 32 goals. The bill, signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, may prove to be the single worst piece of legislation for California's economy that was ever signed into law.
Just to remind you: To meet the goals would take a vehicle fleet that is entirely electric by 2050. What will it take to convert all of the diesel-powered 18-wheelers to electricity? It may well make sense if they are powered by natural gas, which America has in abundance and will export.
In addition, Gov. Brown, ever zealous in things green, has decreed that one-third of California's power be generated from renewable sources. Conveniently and stunningly—hydro power from dams does not count. Don't ask me for the logic behind that policy—just remember that manufacturing works in Washington state because of inexpensive hydro-generated electricity compared with much more expensive renewable power required in our state.
The bottom line to comply with AB 32 was that a new nuclear—yes nuclear—power plant would have to come on line every other year between now and 2050. Just imagine how folks will swallow all of those nuclear plants after the Japanese tsunami.
That's how absurd these goals are and how removed from economic reality. (Did you notice what Chevy did with the Volt at government-owned motors? A five-week shutdown for oversupply because the vehicles are not working in the marketplace)
California has lost numerous industries because of its oppressive regulation (air and water come readily to mind). And now politicians wonder why the unemployment rate remains in double digits at 11.1 percent, one of the highest in the country.
Certainly, we have a cluster of talented innovators in the Bay Area that drive areas of the economy with fresh ideas and products. But building things, with housing remaining very slow, does not happen in many of the coastal counties.
Given the composition of the Legislature, it is likely is asking too much to subject regulation to a simple cost/benefit analysis that includes the economic impact. It's unfortunate that the protracted recession has no resulted in some common sense being injected into the Capitol.