Skinner, Wieckowski to hold green jobs hearing

Two East Bay lawmakers will co-chair a hearing tomorrow in Sacramento on how California’s energy efficiency policies can create jobs.

Assemblymembers Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, co-chair the Assembly Select Committee on California’s Clean Energy Economy.

“California’s growing clean energy industry has tremendous potential to reduce our energy costs, decrease our dependence on foreign oil and create job opportunities for Californians,” Wieckowski said in their news release, noting he recently held a “Made in California Jobs Summit” in his district.

Skinner said energy efficiency retrofits “are an opportunity to grow green jobs and protect all of us against rising energy prices; as an employment strategy, energy efficiency wins hands down.

The committee – convening at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in room 127 of the State Capitol – will examine what role energy efficiency policies have played in the state’s emerging green economy and the influence of regulations and funding sources in that sector, with testimony from the private sector, academia and government.

Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday signed into law Skinner’s AB X1 14, which expands the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority‘s Property Assessed Clean Energy program so the authority (which is within the state Treasurer’s office) can offer financial aid to banks for privately-issued loans for certain energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable distributed power generation retrofit projects. In short, it aims to increase demand for such projects by making their financing more affordable, in turn putting contractors to work while reducing consumer energy bills.

The committee almost certainly will have to discuss the State Auditor’s recent finding that the California Energy Commission is still sitting on a pot of $183 million in Recovery Act funding earmarked for energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy, and other energy related projects and activities – a lot of supposedly job-creating funds that are just sitting there. The commission must spend the money by the end of next April, or else the federal government takes it back.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    “the influence of regulations and funding sources”

    Needs more regulations!

    Needs more taxes!