Steven Greenhut of California-based R Street Institute says the state is not capable of meeting the electricity needs of 40 million Californians by switching to renewables, and the new law doesn’t demand that with strict penalties.
“So it’s just about posturing,” he insists. “If you look at the text of the bill, it’s more a goal than it is an actual hard and fast requirement.”
That, says Greenhut, is part of the reason why the goal was set for 2045.
“Do things far enough in the future where you can’t be held accountable for it,” he explains, “but not so soon that it’s going to mess up anybody’s lives.”
Some environmental groups are unhappy with the legislation, meanwhile, and are pushing Gov. Brown to end new drilling permits.
Business groups warn the legislation sets impossible targets and could drive up already high energy prices.
“We’re at or near the top end of cost. We’re well above the national average,” Greenhut says of high-cost California. “And I’m in the central valley, outside Sacramento, where it gets wicked hot here in the summer and we need air conditioning.”