Governors in California, Arizona to push for more solar energy

As Jerry Brown (D) retook the reigns of California, and Jan Brewer (R) won her first election to the governorship of Arizona, both made clear in their inaugural addresses that renewables like solar and wind are imperative to both states.

“I have set a goal of 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020 and I intend to meet it by the appointments I make and the actions they take,” said Gov Brown in his inaugural speech. The goal is in line with former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) projections. Already California has approved 4.1 gigawatts (4,100 megawatts) of new, large-scale solar projects.

Brown also said the renewable energy industry can create job growth.

“There are hundreds of thousands of new jobs to be created if California regulatory authorities make sensible and bold decisions,” he said. “It will also be necessary to make sure that our laws and rules focus on our most important objectives, minimizing delays and unnecessary costs.”

During his campaign, he issued a Clean Energy Jobs Plan, in which he promised to building 12 gigawatts of localized renewable energy generation and 8 GW of large-scale renewables. He also promised to develop a timeline for making new homes and commercial buildings “Zero Net Energy” buildings and to appoint a Renewable Energy Jobs Czar.

In his campaign promises, Brown said he would invest in renewable energy technology and create more than half a million green jobs.

“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,” Brown said. “Over the next decade, the market for renewable energy will triple to more than $2 trillion. California must be at the forefront of this 21st Century economic engine. We led the way once, and I know how to put California first again."

“I don’t think we’re at a point—a week in—to get into much more detail than that,” a Brown spokesperson said.

Governor Brewer, in her inauguration speech, refused to be out-shined by Brown.

“We’ve been named the country’s solar king, offering the highest solar power potential in the nation, while attracting new companies—and at the same time rededicating ourselves to business retention,” said Brewer.

She envisioned that Arizona “will be a state with a solar industry that is the envy of the world, one which continues to lead with innovation and cost-effective technologies.”

Brewer does not have detailed information available about her solar and renewable energy goals at this time, and a spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Image courtesy of Brown’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.