Participating in the Milken Institute’s Summit California in Santa Monica

Jerry-Brown-at-Milken-310x175Jerry Brown’s luncheon remarks were spot-on… “This is the epicenter of innovation.” Our challenge, as a state, is to assure the proper education, the research facilities, the incubators, the quality of life that will attract and retain top talent to the Golden State.  The all-day Summit California was all about macroeconomics to foster a vibrant and sustainable economy in California. Among others, Lyndon Rive, the CEO of SolarCity, recounted his story of coming to America, first as an underwater hockey player. His company is at the forefront of innovation, selling green electrons. And he’s now hiring 15 a day, employing 4,000 coast-to-coast.

The Milken Institute’s Summit California: Governors, mayors, leading financiers, academics, moguls, business owners… thought leaders all. A Who’s Who of California’s leaders. Michael Milken kicks it off with a quiz: What was the biggest new source of new generating capacity in the United States last year? (Wind) What country gets the largest percentage of its electricity from renewable sources? (Iceland) Clearly in his element, Milken then focused on renewables busting myths and making clear the rise in this class of technologies. He is laser focused on California’s position in technology and science. Later in the day we hear from Patrick Soon-Shiong, CEO of NantWorks, buying companies to “take the digital revolution to healthcare,” his 45-minute mapping of each human’s genetic make-up.

Safeway is to be credited for its remarkable path to energy sustainability, one of the top ten corporate purchasers of renewables in America. The case study was presented in the roundtable on implementing AB 32 to which I had been invited, implementing California’s infamous Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Also in the room, the bill’s authors California State Senator Fran Pavley and then Speaker of the California Assembly Fabian Nunez. The California Air Resources Board has just released its Scoping Plan Update for perspective. It shows progress and complexity, especially with cap and trade. Why don’t utilities get credit for distributed generation? If they did, two of us suggested, there would be much less resistance to distributed generation, now perceived as a “disruptive technology,” seemingly at odds with the Governor’s stated goal of 12,000 MW of “localized generation” by 2020.

The Milken Institute was founded by Michael Milken.  He serves as Chairman of the Milken Institute, guiding its focuses on independent, rigorous research, convening influential stakeholders, and advancing financing strategies, and smart policy approaches to build a more prosperous California.

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