Commonwealth National Podcast

Solar Surge?

Duration: 
1:04:47

Solar Surge?

John Woolard, CEO, BrightSource Energy
Karen Douglas, Chairman, California Energy Commission
Lisa Hoyos, California Director, Apollo Alliance
Greg Dalton, Climate One - Moderator

A “perfect storm” of policy and incentives has made 2010 a banner year for solar in California, but for the boom to continue in the state and the rest of the United States, major obstacles need to be cleared, according to a panel of experts convened by Climate One. Karen Douglas, Chair of the California Energy Commission, BrightSource Energy President and CEO John Woolard, and Lisa Hoyos, California State Coordinator, Apollo Alliance, caution that the absence of a coherent, stable, and long-term national clean energy policy is holding back the industry. “One of the challenges in US policy is that … it’s been, ironically, perpetual and long term for fossil fuels, but short term and extended sporadically for renewables,” Woolard says. “We need a longer time horizon … at least five, more likely ten years, is reasonable.” Douglas agrees: “It’s terribly damaging to extend a policy and then reverse the policy. If you do that too many times, developers feel burned.” We also need to be able to deliver the clean energy to the grid. Woolard notes that over the past decade US regulators have sited 12,000 miles of natural gas pipelines but only 600 miles of power lines. “It’s like running interstate commerce without highways and rails,” Woolard says. If you can get projects financed and approved by regulators, it will mean jobs, Hoyos says. “Clean energy jobs are growing ten times faster than any other sector of our economy in this state,” she says. “We need to fully put our energy behind opposing Proposition 23 so we can continue to realize the benefits of AB 32, which is expected to generate in the next ten years over $104 billion in investment and other economic opportunities.”

This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on October 8, 2010

Related event
Published in: