Of all the ways that California is attempting to reduce its carbon footprint, perhaps none will have a more dramatic, or immediate, impact than that of solar power.
Up to 200 solar energy projects, are seeking, or have received, approval to be developed in California. Most notable of these are nine large-scale projects in the state's own Empty Quarter ï¿½ the Mojave and Colorado -- where state and federal officials are on the verge of inking approvals on more than 4,100 megawatts worth of solar thermal farms. Collectively, they represent nearly ten times the amount of solar capacity installed in 2009, and enough energy to power roughly 2 million homes.
It's been 20 years since California elected a governor with a strong interest in planning and development.And next week's gubernatorial election appears to present a pretty significant choice in the state's approach to these issues.
Despite her occasional right-wing rhetoric, Meg Whitman is unlikely to bend in a radical direction. She may suspend AB 32 and focus on job creation, but she's likely to focus on green jobs. She's also likely to try to streamline the California Environmental Quality Act, though it's hard to know ï¿½ with a Democratic legislature ï¿½ how likely she is to succeed.
Collectively, ballots that California voters will cast Nov. 2 encompass a representative sample of the usual land use questions that California cities and counties face on a regular basis. Local voters will decide on everything from urban growth boundaries to downtown plans to specific projects. But, however strong local passions may be, the statewide ballot also includes potential whoppers on major issues like redevelopment funding, climate change, and the survival of state parks.
Updated as of November 3 with most current results.