Gov. Jerry Brown said this morning that his administration will "crush" efforts to block renewable energy projects in California, intervening in local disputes to overcome opposition.
"In Oakland, I learned that some kind of opposition you have to crush," Brown, the city's former mayor, said at a renewable energy conference in Los Angeles. "Talk a little bit, but at the end of the day you have to move forward, and California needs to move forward with our renewable energy."
Brown said his office will "act to overcome the opposition," helping projects overcome permitting and environmental challenges. The Democratic governor announced Friday that he had filed a legal brief urging a federal judge to deny litigation seeking to block a solar energy project in the Mojave Desert.
"We need a centralized base of arbitrary intervention to overcome the distributed political power that is blocking forward progress," Brown said.
Brown said despite state budget cuts and reduced spending in a weakened economy, California must invest in renewable energy. He was a pioneer in the area when he was governor before, from 1975 to 1983. At the time, he said, "all this stuff seemed far more marginal."
Returning to office this year for a third term, Brown said he will promote the creation of 20,000 new megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. He said it doesn't help that the subject is so complicated.
"In politics, complexity is the enemy of success," Brown said. "We deal in simplicity. We deal in shifting blame and responsibility. We deal in slogans."
Brown took a shot at Texas, saying that "whatever amount of oil they have over there in Texas, we have a hell of a lot more sun right here in California." Brown said "oil is just a bunch of fossilized vegetation that over time has become rather valuable."
The sun, he said, is more abundant and powerful.
"At the end of the day, it's more secure, more sustainable," he said. "It's more Californian, more American."
Brown's plans for renewable energy range from putting solar panels along state highways to fast-tracking permits for renewable energy projects. The governor in April signed legislation requiring California utilities to obtain one third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.