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California Governor Calls For Common Ground on Renewable Future

California Gov. Jerry Brown repeated his state's intention to move away from fossil fuels as it implements an aggressive climate strategy. Brown offered keynote remarks on Wednesday, the first day of a two-day California Independent System Operator (CAISO) stakeholder symposium in Sacramento.

In discussing the push for an all-new, smarter grid system, Brown said California is "changing its energy mix," and "this summer the amounts of renewable energy for making electricity exceeded the amounts of fossil fuel used [see Daily GPI, Sept. 7]. That will continue well into the future."

Brown said he doesn't think everyone can agree on this. "There are only two Republicans in the entire Congress that would agree with our assessment." He said the CAISO symposium participants were going to wrestle with the issue of how to find common ground with the other states in the West that have different assessments of how to deal with future energy needs in the face of climate change.

"Different states have different needs and experiences," Brown said. "Yet the efficiency of a wider electric grid [spread over multiple states] is unmistakable; it can mean greater efficiency, intelligence and elegance in the way we use and produce electricity.

"So that is what is before us, and I can tell you that we are going to continue innovating in this state; it wasn't that long ago that our electric utilities said they couldn't get to 20% renewables, and last month they were at 26%, so we're going to get to 50% by 2030, maybe three or four years before that."

Brown said he was leaving it to the symposium attendees and speakers, which included state and industry leaders, to make sure all points of view are aired.

"We want to make sure that those who love coal and those who love the sun can sit down and work in a totally seamless web of interconnection," Brown said.

Brown said technology is "forcing" policymakers and legislators to change the way energy systems work. "We live in a world of very rapid, disruptive change, and I hope we can make it as harmonious and pleasant as possible."

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