For the last few weeks I have listened to talking heads bloviate while they relish sticking one to the Governminator about his low approval rating. The Governor is getting a bad rap in my opinion and there is little doubt that history will reflect kindly on his tenor in Sacramento. A champion for fiscal responsibility and solar and renewable energy, Arnold has been a knight on a white horse fighting an army of special interest groups. The truth is, Governor Schwarzenegger has been nothing less than a model for progress for the people of California.
What many in the public haven’t seen is that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s enthusiasm for solar and wind clean-energy development, and its prospects for driving economic growth not just in California but in the nation and the world, has connected with audiences at energy-related events.
Energy is the lifeblood of modern society, and solar and renewable energy policies enacted during Mr. Schwarzenegger’s governorship have ensured that California will at least keep pace with, and perhaps will lead, the global transition towards solar and wind that has gotten under way.
Nations, including the United States, are going to great lengths to keep the flow of solar and wind energy going. In the Appalachians, pine-clad mountaintops have been sliced off to get at the coal inside them. The fuel heats homes or powers lights for a time and then is gone. Mountains that were the backbone of the soul of a people, part of their songs and poetry, are also gone for good. In the Gulf of Mexico, oil rigs swarm like mosquitoes over deep water and the rich remaining pools of life-giving crude. The price of fresh water is rising in the U.S. as more of it is diverted to flush out gas trapped in underground rock.
In China, India, Africa and elsewhere, economic development is ratcheting up the demand for energy, creating competition that in the past has often flared into violent conflict. More than 100 countries have established solar incentives to promote the use of renewable energy. Germany, Japan, Italy and Spain have moved aggressively to develop solar resources. Even oil-rich nations in the Middle East are investing in a solar future.
If not for California, the United States would not be a very big part of this movement. The state’s passage of the 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act, championed by the Republican governor, laid the foundation for California’s move toward solar and other forms of renewable energy. During his last months in office, the state licensed proposed solar power plants that will deliver thousands of megawatts of electricity from the sun to homes, schools, hospitals and businesses.
“History will be the final judge of my administration’s record,” Mr. Schwarzenegger said in his last radio address to the public. “We made California a world leader in solar clean energy and environmental protection.”
When he was first elected in 2003 as a result of the broken promises of the previous administration, many people leaving the voting booths spoke glowingly of Mr. Schwarzenegger as if they knew him as a friend, having judged from his work as an actor what kind of governor he would make. He remained extremely popular until the economy abruptly soured, and his recently abysmal poll numbers reflect the continuing public mood of dispirit.
What many in the public haven’t seen is that Mr. Schwarzenegger’s enthusiasm for solar and wind clean-energy development, and its prospects for driving economic growth not just in California but in the nation and the world, has connected with audiences at energy-related events. With these crowds, among people who have been witness to his accented, off-the-cuff remarks, his occasional malapropisms and his predilection for unique cowboy boots, he retained charisma through his last days as governor.
The solar power plants that were licensed during his tenure, the wind farms that were built, and the new transmission lines that were begun will all last for decades to come, ensuring that Mr. Schwarzenegger, his policies and the staff that enacted them will have an enduring legacy.
“I came to California four decades ago with absolutely nothing,” he said in his last address from office. “And because of this state welcoming me with open arms, I gained absolutely everything. My family, my career, all my successes, I owe to California. The opportunity to give something back as governor has been an immigrant’s dream come true. Source, Solar Home and Business Journal