California is probably one of the most environmentally progressive states in the U.S. It is also the country’s most populous state and according to LA Times, the state now derives 5 percent of its total electricity needs from wind energy. This powers about 400,000 households and now generates a total of 4,000 MW through renewable wind energy sources. Last year alone, the state installed about 921 MW.
According to Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Association, “The total amount of wind energy installations in 2011 created a banner year for wind generation in California and is helping to drive California closer to reaching its goal of 33 percent renewable energy.”
There is enormous market potential for clean tech and it is one of the leading sectors which creates jobs in the country. The hotspots for wind generation in California include the Tehachapi area of Kern County as well as some big projects in Solano, Contra Costa and Riverside counties as well.
Pressure is growing in Congress to cut the deficit and trim subsidies, especially after the Solyndra fiasco. Many investors are reluctant to invest in the sector, but the other side of clean tech cannot be ignored. According to the LA Times article, those in the clean tech industry are wanting Congress to grant an extension of federal production tax credits which are due to expire at the end of the year.
Wind energy is clean and abundant, it creates jobs in the domestic market as well as reduces America’s dependence on foreign oil. California generates the most amount of wind energy after Texas and Iowa and reaching 5 percent is a landmark achievement in its long-term goals.
California was the first U.S. state to develop wind energy projects in the early 1980s. Under California’s renewable energy laws, wind energy projects comprise the largest in the sector. With continued investments in the wind energy sector as well as other clean tech sectors, California is well on its way to meet its renewable energy goals. Considering that the state’s energy demands are huge, due to the high concentration of ICT companies, any move to reduce dependence on dirty energy is admirable.
Image Credit: Bodoklecksel Wikimedia Commons