California's Energy Colonialism

By Max Schulz

California’s proud claim to have kept per-capita energy consumption flat while growing its economy is less impressive than it seems. The state has some of the highest energy prices in the country – nearly twice the national average – largely because of regulations and government mandates to use expensive renewable sources of power. As a result, heavy manufacturing and other energy-intensive industries have been fleeing the Golden State in droves.

The unreliable power grid is starting to rattle some Silicon Valley heavyweights. Intel CEO Craig Barrett, for instance, vowed in 2001 not to build a chip-making facility in California until power supplies became more reliable. This October, Intel opened a $3 billion factory near Phoenix for mass production of its new 45-nanometer microprocessors. Google has chosen to build the massive server farms that will fuel its expansion anywhere but in California.

And yet, despite a desperate need for more power, opposition to energy projects remains prevalent. State law prohibits the construction of new nuclear plants, and legislative efforts last summer to repeal it went nowhere. Last spring state regulators vetoed a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas terminal 14 miles off the Malibu coast.

Read the entire opinion column at the Wall Street Jounal

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