Energy and Two Valleys
California has always been a place where people take big chances. This willingness for risk taking harks back to the heady gold-rush days, an adventurous period of midnineteenth-century American history when people from around the world readily endured great hardships traveling to the Golden State for the promise of quick riches. In the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, Silicon Valley opened up a new gold rush, the high-tech explosion. Again, people came from around the globe to participate in the exciting new creation of wealth, and many of them found bigger fortunes than they ever could have made in the original gold-rush bonanza. Today, the daring to take a chance with new energy technology is moving to the forefront of people’s imagination. The massive windfalls that California’s citizens will potentially receive from this growing movement could well prove to be even more lucrative than any quest for California gold or high tech.
When it comes to seeing real progress in energy innovation, we should look at two specific locations in California. Although we can never be certain where exactly any innovative development might eventually lead, California’s Silicon Valley and the San Joaquin Valley can be credited with at least generating optimism for a better energy future. And unlike the forty-niners of old, today’s risk takers don’t need to rely on hope and hunches of where gold might be found. Instead, they know that developing new technologies and implementing more efficient management of our energy resources will