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California’s Brown Vows to ‘Crush’ Renewable-Energy Opposition

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July 25 (Bloomberg) -- California Governor Jerry Brown said his state would become a world leader in solar power by implementing his campaign pledge to produce 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy in the state by 2020.

The 73-year-old Democrat said that while Germany and China may lead in total power garnered from the sun, California would be the most productive in that category in the U.S.

“We’re in a very real sector here; it’s like the beginnings of the computer industry,” in which California entrepreneurs such as William Hewlett and Steve Jobs played a critical role, Brown said today at a conference on renewable energy at the University of California Los Angeles.

Brown on July 22 asked a federal court to dismiss a request for an injunction sought by opponents of a 370-megawatt solar power plant in the Mojave desert that environmentalists say will harm native tortoises.

“There’s technical problems, there’s financial problems, regulatory problems, there’s coordination problems,” Brown said of the challenges his energy plan faces. “When local communities try to block the installation of photovoltaic, we act to overcome the opposition. Some kinds of opposition you have to crush.”

Creating Jobs

Brown said during his campaign last year that his “green-energy jobs program” would create more than a half-million new positions for a state with an 11.8 percent unemployment rate in June.

California legislators passed an $85.9 billion general-fund budget last month, a process that occupied much of Brown’s time during his first six months in office.

Texas, the nation’s second-largest state by population, created 165,000 jobs in the past three years, while California lost 1.15 million, Republican Assemblyman Dan Logue said in April.

“People talk about Texas -- they don’t have any regulations, they don’t have any taxes, the people work virtually for nothing,” Brown said. “Whatever amount of oil they have in Texas, we have a hell of a lot more sun right here in California.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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