July 30, 2008

Shaping California's Energy Future

I attended a lecture of the AIM Policy Center's Energy Policy Series entitled "Shaping California's Energy Future: Protecting Economy and Environment" and the guest lecturer was Terrence O'Brien, Deputy Director of the California Energy Commission.

I attended the talk because energy is such a hot topic these days-- with the rising cost of fuel, the mad scramble to find the best alternative energy resource and its effects on the world economy and other markets. Mr. O'Brien gave an overview of the California government's initiatives in promoting "Green" energy, i.e. renewable energy and the specific programs the state governments are undertaking. There was also a discussion on what the Philippine government is doing in this front and members of the audience were given copies of the "Renewable Energy Act of 2008."

The talk was very informative and it raised issued of "food vs. fuel," or the use of land to cultivate the necessary plants for fuel in lieu of using the land for agriculture. As always, the ball is in the government's hands in terms of creating the balance between the two, assuming a clear-cut policy is used. I also learned some bad news: According to Mr. O'Brien, indicators point towards an increasing trend in fuel prices and there won't be significant price reductions in the horizon. Bad news indeed.

The lecture made me look forward to the next part in the series which would cover food and climate security amidst the challenges in energy.