What’s Current? Issue #1 – Energy Superabundance, Water Use in California, Modular Reactors, CEQA

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our weekly newsletter, What’s Current, offering you the latest information on solutions to California’s energy and water challenges. Our mission is to share the latest news and analysis on the technologies, costs, and policy changes that will move California from the politics of scarcity to a future of sustainable abundance that is essential for the prosperity and upward mobility of all Californians. What’s Current is produced by Californians for Energy and Water Abundance, a project of California Policy Center.

A New Way to Safely Harvest Water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

The San Joaquin Valley Blueprint, a collaborative project involving water agencies and community leaders, has come up with a fascinating proposal. Cut channels in a few Delta islands and fill the beds with rocks that cover a huge number of French Drains. During storms, an estimated 30,000 acre feet per day can be harvested from 200 acres without pumps harming fish, and the water can be stored in the valley’s capacious aquifers. A pilot project is being developed to further evaluate this concept.

Energy Superabundance: How Cheap, Abundant Energy Will Shape Our Future

For a deep dive into a comprehensive, relentlessly optimistic assessment of how emerging technologies will enable a future of worldwide, clean and sustainable prosperity, this policy paper from The Center for Growth and Opportunity is a must read. Published last year, it surveys promising developments in energy, transportation, agriculture, water, materials, and the design of new cities. This is a tremendous information resource for anyone interested in energy and water policy in California.

How Much Water Does California Agriculture Consume?

A thought provoking new study from the California Farm Bureau offers a new perspective on water use by agriculture. Taking into account so-called “uncaptured water,” which is typically not counted even though it benefits the environment, in an average year, agriculture in California only uses 15 percent, the urban share is only 4.5 percent, and all of the rest is reserved for the environment.

Small Modular Reactors Herald a Nuclear Energy Renaissance

In the 1950s the proponents of nuclear power claimed the technology would deliver electricity “too cheap to meter.” Nuclear technology, small and large scale, has come a long way since then. Today, the advent of commercially available Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) is something California’s policymakers should carefully evaluate.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like CEQA?

Despite plenty of other environmental safeguards, the California Environmental Quality Act has morphed into a beast that stops more good projects than bad, making everything in California cost more, including energy, water, and housing. Want to get rid of CEQA? Here’s one idea – a ballot initiative with brevity only matched by its power: “Section 1. Division 13 (commencing with Section 21000) of the Public Resources Code is repealed.”