Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2008 | Even though experts like the Utility Consumers’ Action Network and the California Public Utilities Commission’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates have determined the Sunrise Powerlink is not needed, it is still being pursued by Sempra’s local utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric. This, despite the fact that experts have identified many better ways to meet growing energy needs.

Contrasted with the “business as usual” crowd are the new frontier of energy movers and shakers. Stakeholders including utilities, environmental groups and technical experts are working together right now to identify renewable energy resources and figure out how to transmit that energy to big population areas. Here in San Diego, a proposal called “San Diego Smart Energy 2020” has created buzz as a modern, innovative 21st century alternative to the old way of doing things. This road map to clean energy, modeled after the state’s Energy Action Plan, emphasizes efficiency and renewables, and only relies on natural gas in a limited capacity. As many industries struggle in the sputtering economy, this proposal is chock full of jobs that can employ people throughout the region right away.

In order for our state to actually implement these practical, 21st century solutions, our governor, state policymakers, local officials and energy agencies must lead. Will they charge forward and seize the moment or buckle to the influential big-dollar “business as usual” interests of the past?

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