Future Sunny and Green

The Future is Sunny and Green 041311

Governor Moonbeam deserves a new name: Governor Sunbeam. 


Jerry Brown signed legislation today that would mandate that in the next 9 years power companies get 33% of their juice from green energy.


Geothermal, solar, wind, tide and wave generation, small hydro and biomass sources can be mixed to reach this goal.   


The manifest intent of the bill is to increase the use of non-fossil fuels to generate power. This intends to be a boost for wind and solar power, but also for biofuels. 


It is expected these new standards, the greenest in the nation, will spark new industry and new technology to fill the niche opportunity this creates.  It will create a chance at survival for some technologies which are marginal now. 


One source of discouragement is the complex permit processes that apply in any new technology or major project.  Brown seems to understand the impediment this proves.  From his signing statement:

“The bill contains some provisions that will create implementation difficulties or inefficiencies, particularly for regulatory agencies charged with the bill’s implementation. These provisions should be amended quickly. Therefore, while I am signing this bill today, I ask the Legislature to immediately begin work on additional legislation to correct these problems.”


Naysayers are calling for electrical rates to increase by 7% to 19%.  Still, this could be a very good move for Sierra County, were biomass literally grows on trees.  An increase in the price of biomass energy means the understory in the forest is worth money, instead of being a constant threat of fiery death. 


We are already seeing logs ground to produce electricity in the region; but we don’t necessarily want to burn logs.  However, logs are a tight, efficient way to carry biomass.  If the market improved we could turn our logs to lumber and our excess small material to electricity.  It’s hard to conceive of, but there might be a time when landowners are taxed on their hazard fuel.


If we in the county continue as we are, we’ll see a bright new future in biomass industry over the border in Nevada and Yuba counties, and we’ll fuss and fume and curse and wonder why it didn’t happen here. 


Don’t blame governor Sunbeam!

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