Californians Reject Energy Props, Could Get High Speed Rail

Election results are still pouring in all around the country, and while the cleantech community is surely celebrating the new president elect, sorting out the results of California’s propositions is not as cut and dried. Californian’s have rejected Propositions 7 and 10, which would have increased renewable energy targets and given incentives for alternative fuel vehicles, respectively. Meanwhile, the prospect of a high-speed train is getting stronger, as prop 1A leads with more results still coming in. Here’s a break down on the election results for the propositions we profiled in our voter’s guide.

Proposition 1A: High-Speed Passenger Train Bond: LIKELY TO PASS: The results on this prop have yet to officially be called, but it looks like Californians have agreed to put $9 billion into a high-speed train project that would connect Los Angeles and San Francisco. Debate around this prop was pretty straightforward and centered on the burden for the taxpayer. The proposition authorizes the state of California to issues $9.95 billion worth of bonds. While the rail is far from being built and represents the largest public works undertaking in the state’s history, California has taken a large step toward constructing America’s first high-speed rail system.

Proposition 7: The Solar and Clean Energy Act: NO:
The proposition would have raised the state’s renewable energy targets to 40 percent of the total energy mix by 2020 and 50 percent by 2025. Many groups that would normally endorse higher green energy goals, including environmental groups and cleantech startups, opposed this proposition claiming the confusingly written measure would actually slow renewable energy development. “I think people in California were able to see that Prop. 7, the way it was written, was not going to work,” Jim Metropulos, senior advocate for the Sierra Club, told SFGate. California will still need to work hard to meet its existing renewable portfolio standard to generate 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2010.

Proposition 10 The California Renewable Energy and Clean Alternative Fuel Act: NO:
T. Boone Pickens may have poured millions
into the Yes on 10 campaign, but it was to no avail. The measure, which would have provided big rebates for consumers purchasing alternative fuel vehicles, could have propped up natural gas vehicles with billions at a time when the electric automotive revolution looks to be starting. The prop would have been paid for with $5 billion in state bonds. This takes more wind out of the Pickens Plan’s sails.

San Francisco Proposition H: The San Francisco Clean Energy Act: NO:
San Franciscans have rejected the proposition of the city running its own public power system a dozen times now. This year the measure, which would have given the city supervisors the power to acquire PG&E’s electrical distribution grid, was wrapped in green energy mandates, including the lofty goal of getting the city to generate all of its power from renewable sources by 2040. PG&E will maintain control of its facilities for now and will still have to meet California’s renewable portfolio standard.