The following includes excerpts from “California’s Commitment To 100 Percent ‘Clean Energy’ By 2045, Explained” written by Abby Hamblin and originally published The San Diego Union Tribune.
“It will not be easy. But it must be done.” California Governor Jerry Brown tweeted after signing Senate Bill 100 (SB 100), effectively affirming the state’s new path to generate all of its electricity from renewable resources by 2045.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018, on Monday, September 10.
The state body that regulates public utilities requires retail sellers of electricity to be working toward certain minimum requirements for the use of renewable energy sources. This is known as the California Renewable Portfolio Standard Program, and the goal for the use of renewable resources — such as wind and solar — had previously been set at 50 percent by the year 2030.
This bill moves the 50 percent goal up to the year 2026 and establishes a new goal of 60 percent renewable energy by 2030. It sets a new policy to make 100 percent of California’s energy resources come from zero-carbon sources by 2045.
Finally, Brown signed an executive order to spur the state toward “carbon neutrality” by 2045, meaning it will remove as much carbon dioxide from the air as it emits. The order suggests achieving this by adding more zero emission vehicles to the state’s roads and extending California’s cap-and-trade program.
What does that mean?
In 2017, California’s zero-carbon sources — including nuclear, large hydroelectric and other renewable generation — accounted for more than 56 percent of total in-state generation of electricity. The remaining electricity came from non-renewable sources, including natural gas at 33 percent.
State utilities and energy producers are now being pushed to make up the difference.
The three largest investor-owned utilities collectively served 34.76 percent of their 2016 retail electricity sales with renewable power sources like wind, hydroelectricity, geothermal and bioenergy.
What are people saying?
— Jim Rainey (@RaineyTime) September 10, 2018
Governor Brown gave me the signing pen… and I was a little excited. 😆 https://t.co/Zbx9yA4gqQ
— Lorena (@LorenaSGonzalez) September 11, 2018
Moving California to 100% renewable energy by 2045 is the right move for our environment, our economy and our state. Here in San Diego I set us on the path to 100% by 2035. Looking forward to taking even more action toward that goal this year. #SB100
— Kevin Faulconer (@Kevin_Faulconer) September 11, 2018
Congratulations to everyone in California who successfully pushed for this incredibly important law to move the state’s electric grid to 100% clean energy by no later than 2045. This bill is a step in the right direction. pic.twitter.com/UYXpYxwWDg
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) September 10, 2018
What could go wrong?
There was plenty of opposition to the bill in both the Senate and Assembly, especially on the Republican side of the aisle. The bill passed the Senate 25-13 and the Assembly 44-33 despite concerns about cost increases to California rate payers and questions over whether the 2045 deadline was too ambitious.
Some Democrats also voted no after hearing concerns from their constituents.
“This is yet another in a laundry list of bills that are discriminatory to the people I represent,” Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, said.
Agriculture groups and utilities also opposed the bill.
Who wrote SB 100?
Sen. Kevin de Leon is the lead author of Senate Bill 100. He is challenging fellow Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat. It remains to be seen how or whether this might affect that race.
Read The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 here.
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