SACRAMENTO â€”Â Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, Senate President Pro-Tempore, Kevin De LeÃ³n, as well as representatives from the State Building Trades and environmental groups discuss the importance and benefits of renewable energy and its economic impact. The Don Vial Center at U.C. Berkeley released a study that looks at Californiaâ€™s Renewable Portfolio Standard and its impact on job quality in the renewable energy industry.
â€œAs we think about the effects and costs of climate change, the poor air quality throughout our state, and the need to improve the healthÂ of our communities, it is policies like SB 350 which require 50% of our energy production to come from renewable energy by 2030 that will put California on a healthier and cleaner path. However, this policy has also served as the impetus for the emerging green economy that is important to our state from an economic development perspective. After the great recession that wreaked havoc on our economy, it is emerging industry sectors, such as the green economy, that will help address our environmental concerns while also putting people back to work,â€ said Assemblymember Garcia.
According to the U.C. Berkeley study, regions other than urban areas of the state have benefited the most from wind and solar production, mainly because of their access to vast land areas. Coincidentally, these areas often face issues of high poverty and unemployment. Imperial and Riverside County, which have median incomes below the state average and unemployment levels of 22.1% and 6.2%, respectively, have benefited from the green economy. The study also found that the Inland Empire alone accounted for 43% of all jobs in the renewable energy industry making the region the highest growth area in the renewable energy sector.
Last year, Assemblymember Garcia was principal co-author of SB 350 which increased the percentage of renewable energy utilities are required to procure from 33% by 2020 to 50% by 2030. The Assemblymember also represents one of the most renewable resource rich districts in the state. With an abundance of sun, wind, and geothermal, Assemblyman Garciaâ€™s district is slated to be a major contributor to meeting the stateâ€™s renewable energy goals. Both Riverside and Imperial Counties combined have received $1.8 million dollars from the California Energy Commission to plan for future development of renewables.