According to the Green California Summit, 2008 saw a dramatic increase in Government-backed environmental projects, including thousands of local, municipal and statewide green-building projects, adoption by the Air Resources Board of the nation's most aggressive greenhouse gas policy, as well as hundreds of recycling, transportation and other environmental initiatives.

You would think that with California's troubled economy, 2009 would look less rosy for state-funded green initiatives but quite the contrary is true.  According to director Nancy Miller, "2009 is likely to be the biggest year (of) growth in the green sector that we have seen yet." The stats...

  • 56 buildings LEED certified last year
  • 107 new buildings to be LEED & EnergyStar certified in 2009 (PDF)
  • 222 buildings actively pursuing LEED rating
  • 8 solar projects online last year producing 4.2 megawatts
  • 13 new solar projects in 2009 producing 8 megawatts
And that's just in the building and solar sectors.  RFP's have been issued for more renewable energy projects as well as many solid waste recycling projects and water conservation programs. A multimillion dollar interactive website and marketing campaign is also in the works by the California Public Utility Commission to help homeowners weatherize and solarize their homes. These projects and more will be on display at the 2009 Green California Summit, which will feature a keynote by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer called "Green Solutions for Tough Economic Plans."

California is firmly committed to developing its green infrastructure, seeing new development as a way to both protect the states natural resources and help rebuilt its economy.  As Gov. Shwarzenegger said, "We all know we’re going through tough economic times right now, but that’s no reason to slow down when it comes to protecting our environment and investing in clean, green technologies.”

It sounds very noble (and it is) but California is eying that pot of gold at the end of a green rainbow. According to experts, the state's climate change initiative alone could increase gross product by $76 billion, while creating as many as 403,000 jobs and boosting household incomes by $48 billion.  Good news as well for the private sector.  In the last quarter, California-based companies received a staggering 42% of global cleantech investments!

I'm really looking forward to the next Green California Summit and will be reporting live from the floor, so stay tuned.

Related posts:

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2 million green jobs in 2 years

Despite downturn, California's green economy is booming
Green California Summit projects record year for green building and technology projects.