Renewable energy has been one of the few economic bright spots in a state hit hard by the collapse of the housing bubble, with 170,000 of California's jobs tied to the green economy and a quarter of all venture capital spent in the state tied to clean energy, reports Evan Halper.
"California's policies are fueling the movement toward cleaner electricity," says Halper, "but many experts say the state can't go it alone. Federal subsidies are the backbone of these efforts and have helped draw private investment."
With general opposition to such aid a cornerstone of the Romney campaign, "[t]he prospect of a Romney victory in November is a source of consternation among players large and small in California's rapidly growing renewable-energy industry."
"The election will have a huge effect on California energy policy," said Severin Borenstein, co-director of the Energy Institute at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. "If the federal support dries up, a lot of this will come to a halt. It is critical to the cost-competitiveness of a lot of renewable energy here."