Woot woot! California voters on election day on Tuesday handed victories to a crucial greentech-related measure, and also voted in a handful of candidates with strong backgrounds of support for the greentech industry. As expected, voters rejected Proposition 23, which would have basically suspended AB 32 — California’s climate change law — and also voted in Jerry Brown for Governor, a candidate with a much more greentech-friendly record than his opponent former eBay (s ebay) CEO Meg Whitman.
Silicon Valley’s greentech entrepreneurs and investors had been seriously worried that Prop 23 would pass. Backed by Texas oil companies, Prop 23 was hiding behind rhetoric about job losses due to the ongoing implementation of AB 32. However, according to the greentech industry and various economists and researchers, AB 32 has been creating jobs and revenue in the state over the past several years.
Over the past few weeks and months, the “No on Prop 23” campaign, which included high-profile names like Al Gore, President Obama, and Bill Gates, ended up rallying (we published a variety of No on Prop 23 opinion pieces) and eventually outspent the proponents of the ballot measure. According to Maplight.org, supporters of Prop 23 spent $10.7 million, while opponents of Prop 23 spent $31.3 million.
In a speech last night, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger connected the San Francisco Giants World Series win over the Texas Rangers with the defeat of Prop 23: “Today, literally less than 24 hours later, we are beating Texas again,” he said according to local media reports.
Beyond Prop 23, California voters voted in some of the most greentech-friendly candidates to date. Jerry Brown, who Gave a keynote at our annual Green:Net conference last April, won against Whitman, who spent $140 million of her own money on the race. The victory will be Brown’s second run as California’s Governor. His first (some 30 years ago) was marked by the implementation of some of the country’s first clean energy and energy efficiency laws. Whitman had been saying for months that she was considering suspending AB 32.
This time around, Brown already has some strong greentech-related plans, saying he will create a half a million green jobs and appoint a “Renewable Energy Jobs Czar.” Brown wants to stimulate investment to create 20,000 MW of clean power along with investments in energy efficiency technology by 2020 that he says will create those 500,000 green jobs. Brown’s plan includes building 12,000 MW of distributed solar photovoltaics, and 8,000 MW of large-scale solar thermal, along with the necessary transmission lines to connect solar thermal to consumers that would use it.
It looks like Gavin Newsom, San Francisco Mayor and the keynote speaker for our Green:Net 2009 event, will be joining Brown in Sacramento as Lieutenant Governor. Newsom has long been one of the most aggressive local politicians in terms of supporting the greentech industry, and has used San Francisco as a test bed for electric vehicles, solar energy and energy efficiency. I’ll update this when we know for sure.
Along with Brown, Barbara Boxer looks like she’s beat Carly Fiorina, formerly of HP (s hpq), for California’s U.S. Senate Seat. Boxer has a solid record on environmental issues and supporting green jobs.
Here’s our video of Brown’s speech at Green:Net, and my interview with Brown.
For more research check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):