There's an old adage that says, as goes California, so goes the rest of the nation. If that's true, then look for a big increase in growth and spending on green technology, as a new report recently released says that California is the nation's leader in green technology on several fronts.
The report comes from San Francisco not-for-profit group Next 10, which has been releasing the green innovation index for the last five years, and had quite a bit to say about the state of green technology and its impacts in the new leader of green. Not only has California managed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it's managed to do so in an environment where its population is rapidly growing.
Moreover, California has reportedly managed to hold onto its green crown in several key areas, like venture capital funding for green technology, increases in clean power generation systems, and patents issued in regards to green technology. California's green patent roster is up 26 percent just from 2010 to 2011, and obtained better than double the number obtained by its closest competitor, New York, by a score of 913 to 427 total patents in clean-tech. California's Silicon Valley has pulled in $1.1 billion in venture capital funding related to green technology--around 43 percent of the total $2.6 billion spent in 2012 in California--and accounts for a substantial percentage of both national spending at $4.4 billion, and worldwide spending of $6.5 billion.
California is also home to the largest number of biofuel production companies, and fully 14.5 percent of California's power comes from renewable energy sources, representing a 39 percent increase since 2002. These points all represent great news for California, which has been seen struggling on several other fronts like high unemployment, reportedly around 9.8 percent and representing the worst such rate in the nation.
The overall effectiveness of green technology is still somewhat debatable. In many areas, green technologies are often unavailable due to a lack of one particular input or another; some places don't get reliable wind or sun or have access to moving water for hydroelectric generation. Those places that do get plenty of input necessary to make green tech viable often find themselves wanting for better battery technology as well, which hasn't fundamentally changed in years. But research is an important part of getting all the kinks worked out, and even those who don't consider themselves particularly "green" often have little objection to the idea of saving money on power bills, or decentralizing a power grid to the point where individual houses can generate--and even transmit--power themselves.
There's plenty of potential involved in green technology, and California is leading the way in the creation. Will this mean that the rest of the United States will follow suit? Only time will tell if California is a leader...or merely the biggest fish in an empty pond.
Edited by Brooke Neuman