Panama Bartholomy says California needs more homegrown energy
Panama Bartholomy, an advisor for Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the Chair of the California Energy Commission, says California has a huge challenge in front of it when it comes to energy generation.
"Ninety-five percent of state energy comes from crude oil," Bartholomy told Brian Back, Publisher of Sustainable Industries, during a Firehouse Chat at West Coast Green 2009. "Our relationship to energy is out of balance."
Bartholomy, who works on green building, climate change, renewable energy, transmission and biofuels policy, noted 30 percent of the state's electricity needs are met from out of state sources. He told the audience assembled at the Firehouse that in order for California to revive its economy, it's going to have to figure out how to generate its own renewable energy—and figure out a way to make the solar panels and wind turbines within its own borders.
Trade unions facing 40 unemployment need those jobs, he noted. The unions, for instance supported Senate Bill 14, which requires the state's publicly owned utilities to get 33 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2020, because it put no restrictions on imported renewable energy.
"We’re pouring billions of dollars into solar panels produced in other states," Bartholomy said.
(It passed the legislature gut Governor vowed to veto SB 14, and instead issued an Executive Order to establish the 33 percent by 2020 requirement.)
The Energy Commission is very focused on bringing jobs to the state, Bartholomy said. California received $87 billion of stimulus money, $300 million of which went to the Energy Commission. "We’re increasing our staff by 10 percent because of stimulus money," Bartholomy said. He warned, however, that stimulus money brings with it a lot of restrictions and a huge amount of accountability measures. It's not, in other words, the silver bullet.
The Energy Commission is giving preference to the projects that are in sync with other clean energy funds that already exist within local government and utilities.