JOBS FOR CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE
The nationwide financial debacle, caused largely by reckless mortgage banks and Wall Street financiers, has cost California more than a million jobs. Despite this, our state remains the center of venture capital and entrepreneurial spirit.
Most new jobs should and will be created in the private sector, but government can play an important role in establishing a favorable climate for job creation. Equally crucial is the state government’s role in ensuring a first rate education and a 21st century infrastructure. California began its modern era with the gold rush, followed by agriculture, oil and natural gas, movies, aerospace, computers, information technology, medical advances, bio-tech and now green technology. Our state—even in the midst of a recession—has generated $1.8 trillion in new wealth and is ranked as the 8th largest economy in the world.
California is the preeminent leader in environmental and energy technology because early on we adopted policies and incentives that encouraged efficiency and renewable energy. Today, our state has a visionary plan that will not only combat global warming, but will also reduce foreign energy dependence and unhealthy air emissions. It is absolutely imperative that we continue to lead and not back off these policies that will create the jobs of the future. This is a fundamental point of difference between Meg Whitman and me.
Just as important are the new jobs in biotech, software, medical advances and other cutting edge enterprises. It is essential that California maintain and enhance its position as a place which attracts and encourages hardworking, creative and inventive people. Small and start up businesses are the backbone of economic growth and our tax, legal and regulatory regimes must be constantly reviewed to ensure that their burdens don’t outweigh their benefits.
While I was Governor, California:
- Created 1.9 Million jobs, a higher growth rate than the rest of the country.
- Created the California Conservation Corps, which is the nation’s premier environmental jobs program and has put to work and trained over 100,000 young men and women.
- Adopted the country’s first appliance and building efficiency standards that have created an additional 1.5 million jobs in California. As a result of these policies, California's per capita electricity use has remained virtually flat while—during the same time period—the United States' consumption has increased 50%. These standards have saved California more than $56 billion in electricity and natural gas costs since 1978, equivalent to more than $1,000 per household.
- Adopted policies encouraging renewable energy and made California the world leader in wind, solar and geothermal generated electricity.
- Launched worker training and apprenticeship programs to prepare workers for high tech and other fields.
As Mayor, I:
- Attracted more than 200 new businesses to downtown Oakland.
- Helped to revitalize downtown Oakland and the Oakland waterfront, creating new housing units for 10,000 people.
As Attorney General, I have:
- Defended California’s clean energy and climate laws that are spurring billions of dollars in new investment, new businesses and new jobs
- Sued the federal government for blocking an innovative local financing program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) embraced by half of California’s counties to increase efficiency retrofits, install rooftop solar, and increase local jobs.
- Stopped companies from cheating their workers and competing unfairly against law-abiding businesses. I have successfully sued those companies for violating labor laws and for failing to pay required wages and taxes.
- Sued to stop Wall Street abuse and other fraudulent business practices that lead to lost jobs and lost savings. I secured an $8.6 billion nationwide settlement against Countrywide Financial, the poster child for fraudulent and misleading sub-prime mortgage lending that played a central role in the current financial crisis. I also won a major settlement from Wells Fargo, returning $1.5 billion to investors whose “auction rate preferred” funds had been frozen. Currently, I am investigating the three largest credit rating agencies for fueling the financial crisis by giving gold-standard ratings to securities backed by toxic mortgages.
A. Stimulate Clean Energy Jobs
California was a world leader in clean energy when I was governor, and with the right leadership, the State can lead again. Unlike my opponent, who wants to turn back the clock on clean energy by abolishing California’s landmark global warming law (AB 32), I will be an enthusiastic champion for the green sector and the jobs of the future.
Renewable Energy: Investments in clean energy produce two to three times as many jobs per dollar as gas, oil or coal. And dollars invested in clean energy tend to stay in California, instead of other states or countries. Renewable energy also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other harmful air pollutants.
Until the early 1990’s, nearly all renewable energy development in the U.S. occurred in California, which at one time had more than 90% of the world’s wind energy capacity. In 2008, clean energy attracted $3.3 billion in venture capital—nearly double the previous year—and employed tens of thousands of Californians in good, sustainable jobs. Clean energy jobs and businesses have grown much faster than the economy as a whole in the past fifteen years, and have continued to grow even during the economic downturn. By 2020, the global clean energy market is expected to grow to nearly $2 trillion annually.
Efficiency: Energy efficiency is the cheapest, fastest, and most reliable way to create jobs, save consumers money and cut pollution from the power sector. It is far cheaper than the cheapest source of energy and has no negative impact on the environment. Savings from energy efficiency also have a multiplier effect that creates far more jobs than comparable investments in fossil fuels or other energy sources.
California’s leading efficiency standards and programs have triggered innovation and creativity in the market—today’s appliances are not only more efficient, but they are cheaper and more versatile than ever. Consider refrigerators, the biggest energy user in our homes. Since California adopted efficiency standards in 1978, refrigerators now use one-fourth the energy, are larger and have more convenient features than models 30 years ago, and are about 1/2 the price. The same story can be told for dishwashers, heaters, air conditioning units and other major appliances.
Summary: California has tremendous potential in the areas of renewable energy and efficiency. Peak electricity demand in California today is 65,000 megawatts (MW), and California has the ability to produce at least 1.3 million MW of renewable energy—concentrating solar, wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), small hydro, geothermal, and biomass—roughly twenty-two times our current electricity capacity.
My goal is that by 2020, California should produce 20,000 new megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity, and also accelerate the development of energy storage capacity. California can do this by aggressively developing renewables at all levels: small, onsite residential and business systems; intermediate-sized energy systems close to existing consumer loads and transmission lines; and large scale wind, solar and geothermal energy systems. At the same time, California should take bold steps to increase energy efficiency.
Below is my plan to get us there. It will produce a half a million new jobs in research, development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance over the next decade.
1. Build 12,000 MWs of Localized Electricity Generation
- California should develop 12,000 megawatts of localized energy by 2020. Localized energy is onsite or small energy systems located close to where energy is consumed that can be constructed quickly (without new transmission lines) and typically without any environmental impact.
- Solar systems of up to 2 megawatts should be installed on the roofs of warehouses, parking lot structures, schools, and other commercial buildings throughout the state.
- Solar energy projects up to 20 megawatts in size should be built on public and private property throughout the state. For example, we should create the California Solar Highway by placing solar panels alongside our state highways.
- The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) or
Legislature should implement a system of carefully calibrated renewable power payments (commonly called feed in tariffs) for distributed generation projects up to 20 megawatts in size. Holding down overall rates must be part of the design.
2. Build 8,000 MWs of Large Scale
Renewables & Necessary Transmission Lines
- The Legislature should codify a requirement that 33% of the state’s electricity be derived from renewable sources. This will create market certainty and drive investment in renewable technologies.
- The California Energy Commission (CEC) should prepare a renewable energy plan by July 1, 2011, that will expedite permitting of the highest priority generation and transmission projects.
- Federal and state agencies should carry out one integrated environmental review.
- The CEC should “fast-track‟ projects based on their anticipated ability to deliver clean energy to market. The permitting time for these projects—which now can take 6 to 8 years—should be dramatically reduced, and in no case be longer than three years.
- Work with regulators and utilities to develop and introduce Smart Grid technology to provide greater transmission efficiency, renewable energy and system reliability.
- Renewable energy is being delayed because of overlapping review between the CEC and the Independent System Operator. Delays are also caused as various departments, such as Fish and Game and water quality agencies, weigh in on projects. As Governor, I will ensure that all agencies work together—with a sense of urgency—to permit projects and transmission lines without delay.
3. Reduce Peak Energy Demands and Develop Energy Storage
- The reliability of our energy system depends on the ability to meet peak power demand (usually summer afternoons when air conditioning use is highest). California funds many “peaker” natural gas plants that run for just a few hours a year, usually on hot summer afternoons. These plants pollute more and are less efficient than other power plants. We also import out of state coal and pay very high prices on the spot market to satisfy peak demand. Energy storage will help reduce the need for peaker plants and imports of out of state coal.
- Renewable power is often intermittent. Neither wind nor solar energy is available 24 hours a day. As a result, renewable energy is more challenging to integrate into the base load of the overall energy delivery system. Energy storage helps smooth out this variability and makes it less costly to integrate renewables into the grid.
- The California Public Utilities Commission and the state’s municipal utilities should adopt policies and incentives that promote the development of energy storage.
- As Attorney General, I have sponsored legislation that would direct the PUC to establish policies that will encourage the building of energy storage systems. If utilities procure storage equivalent to 5% of their peak load demand, approximately 8,500 permanent new jobs would be created.
4. Increase Efficiency of Buildings and Appliances
- New Buildings: A typical home uses much more energy than it needs to operate economically. New buildings can be designed today to use 1/3 to 1/2 less energy than they use today, with little or no cost increase.
- We should establish a plan and a timeline to make new homes and commercial buildings in California “zero net energy”—highly efficient structures that use onsite renewable energy for all their electricity and natural gas needs.
- Existing Buildings: Half of all California homes were built before current building standards were adopted. Energy consumption in these homes can be reduced by 40% if the CPUC and municipal utilities provide incentives for retrofits and efficiency upgrades.
- Probably the most significant reason people do not make their homes or businesses more efficient is the high up-front costs of major efficiency upgrades, even though they save money in the long run. To overcome this barrier, the State, local governments, and utilities should make available programs whereby businesses and homeowners could take out loans and pay back the costs of efficiency upgrades (and renewable energy projects) through savings on their property tax or utility bills. It is also imperative to continue the nationwide effort to force Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to accept “PACE” (property-assessed clean energy financing).
- Another reason that people do not invest in efficiency upgrades is that they lack information about the energy use and energy costs of their homes and businesses. Disclosing information about energy performance can be a powerful motivator to improve efficiency. State law requires that, starting in 2011, commercial owners have to disclose energy use to potential buyers. This same program should be extended so that homebuyers receive information about a home’s energy use before purchasing it.
- Appliances: The CEC should adopt stronger appliance standards for lighting, consumer electronics and other products. Federal law should be changed to make it easier for California to adopt standards more stringent than federal standards, as we have authority to do for automobile emission standards. For example, a proposed CEC efficiency rule for clothes washers would save enough water for all of San Diego for a year.
- We should increase public education and enforcement efforts so that the gains promised by our efficiency standards are in fact realized.
- We should also work with the Public Utility Commission to ensure that its $1 billion annual energy efficiency program prioritizes job creation in the programs it selects.
5. Develop More Combined Heat & Power (CHP) Projects
- Combined heat and power projects (also known as cogeneration) use the excess heat or electricity generated by power plants or industrial facilities. They are much more efficient than traditional power plants and many industrial plants. California currently produces 9,249 MW of combined heat and power. With the right incentives, we can increase this by 6,500 MW over the next 20 years.
6. Appoint a Clean Energy Jobs Czar
- I will designate one person, directly accountable to the governor, who will be responsible for ensuring that all energy jobs goals and deadlines are met.
B. Encourage Business Start Ups and Expansions
1. Invest in Infrastructure and Create Construction Jobs
As Governor, I will:
- Take the lead to ensure robust investment in roads, highways, bridges, ports, airports and public transportation. And I will work to get California’s fair share of federal dollars for these projects.
- Prioritize water needs. California needs to address its water issues. As Governor, I enacted a program to protect the delta and build the peripheral canal—later blocked by a state referendum. The issue is more urgent than ever. One of my top priorities will be fixing the levies and the Delta and ensuring a sufficient and reliable water supply. This will be an important source of new jobs.
- Accelerate planning and construction of high-speed rail in California.
- Strengthen our port system. Our regional ports are a key component in the global supply chain and can be an important source of new jobs. I will champion the expansion of our ports and the supporting infrastructure to make them cost competitive.
- Prioritize use of existing state funds and bond authority to maximize job creation in areas such as transportation, construction of education facilities, water infrastructure and clean energy.
- Increase incentives and remove regulatory/permitting hurdles for infill development (near transportation and business hubs).
2. Create Strike team to focus on Job retention and creation
As Governor, I will:
- Create a “strike team” to attract, grow and retain jobs in California. This team will coordinate the many worker-training programs, tax incentives and other state programs to attract and retain jobs.
- The team will respond to business inquiries, create incentive packages, cut through bureaucratic red tape, help facilitate business location and expansion, and act as a liaison between different state and local agencies involved in permitting.
- The team will also ensure that we leverage private and federal research dollars to target the greatest opportunities for California businesses and industries.
- The team will also focus on the unique problems facing small businesses.
3. Cut Regulations
Excessive regulations can get in the way of job creation and retention. We need to make government more efficient and effective, providing services quickly and with less hassle and duplication. I will:
- Speed up regulatory processes and eliminate duplicative functions. For example:
- Renewable energy projects are being delayed because of overlapping review between the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the Independent System Operator (ISO). I will make these two agencies work in tandem so that current delays are ended. I would also look at the practicality of merging certain functions now shared among these agencies and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
- Many parts of state government weigh in on power plant site approvals, such as the Department of Fish and Game and water quality agencies. I will get these agencies all on the same page and speed up permit approvals.
- Currently, education policy making at the state level is divided among the State Board of Education, the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor’s Secretary of Education. As Governor, I eliminated some of this overlap by not appointing a secretary of education and looking to the State Board for educational policy advice. Given education’s fundamental importance, I intend to play a major role in education policy. But I would work with and use the existing staff of the State Superintendent or state board, as opposed to having my own separate educational staff.
- Develop CEQA guidelines that accelerate permitting for renewable energy and smart growth/transportation projects and consider other reforms.
- Fully utilize the Office of Administrative Law—an office I created as Governor to reign in regulatory excess. I would reinvigorate the office and provide the leadership needed to ensure that new regulations stick to the clear intent of a law and do not go beyond what is reasonable. As for existing regulations, I would target for review those rules that are slowing down projects, proving to be onerous or otherwise impeding economic growth.
- Technology: There have been serious problems in many
areas of state government with the use of technology. Numerous systems are outdated and are not integrated between necessary departments; new system investments have been improperly planned and implemented, resulting in delays and large cost overruns. Serious review of our current usage of technology is long overdue and necessary to ensure the effective and efficient operation of government services.
4. Increase Manufacturing Jobs
California and the United States have been losing manufacturing jobs for decades as companies take advantage of the global economy. While national policies and comparative advantages in other places are key factors in these losses, California must take every reasonable step to preserve and enhance its manufacturing base.
As Governor, I will:
- Carefully review a range of incentives to encourage
manufacturing jobs; examples include accelerated depreciation and sales tax reduction/elimination for manufacturing equipment.
- Also review incentives for clean tech manufacturing in California, including state and local purchasing preferences.
- Remove regulatory hurdles for retrofits of existing buildings to increase energy and water efficiency, install cool roofing materials and improve indoor air quality.
5. Deliver targeted workforce training programs
As Governor, I will:
- Improve job-training programs. Job training is spread among a number of different public and private entities, including community colleges, apprenticeship programs and local workforce training boards. These efforts need to be made more effective and more relevant to the actual workplace.
- Expand the California Conservation Corps to provide jobs and training for young adults.
6. Invest in Education.
Maintaining a high quality educational system is crucial to attracting and retaining jobs and investment in California. See my separate plan on Education for what I will do to get our schools back on track.