Updated: California lawmaker proposes to target 100% renewables by 2045

Correction: A previous version of this post mischaracterized California Senate Bill 584 as mandating utilities to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2045. The bill instead sets incremental mandates for utilities to hit 50% renewables by 2025 and 60% by 2030, with the goal of achieving 100% by 2045. 

Dive Brief:

  • A bill, SB 584, introduced in the California legislature last week would increase the state’s current 50%-by-2030 renewables mandate to 60% by 2030, with a goal to hit 100% by 2045.

  • The bill, introduced by Sen. Kevin de Leon (D), would also move up the state’s 50% renewables mandate by five years to 2025.

  • The chances of a favorable vote on the bill are bolstered by the fact that the Democratic party controls both houses of the state’s Assembly, and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has been a strong supporter of higher RPS targets.

Dive Insight:

California is already on the forefront of renewable energy with a 50% RPS. Aside from Hawaii’s 100%-by-2045 standard, it is one of the most aggressive targets in the nation. And if the latest bill goes through, it would put California's energy mix on par with Hawaii. Though the 100% renewables goal is not mandatory, the bill would accelerate the current mandates to hit that goal by 2045. 

Back in 2015, Public Utilities Commission President Michael Picker said California’s grid could handle 100% renewables. And according to the California Energy Commission the state is ahead of schedule in meeting its RPS targets. In 2016, California sourced 27% of its electricity from renewable sources, exceeding its current 25% by year end 2016 deadline and positioned to meet its 33%-by-2020 mandate.

Though President Donald Trump's unexpected election threw confusion over the future of renewable energy in the nation, it's clear that the continuing trend of renewables investment will be driven by state policies. California officials in particular have emphasized their stance forging ahead for investment in renewable energy and other emerging technologies in the wake of the confirmation process for the heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. 

When the U.S. Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to head the EPA last week, Sen. de Leon issued a statement saying that “California will not follow Trump’s destructive path. We’ve proven that you can protect the environment and grow jobs. We’ve delinked economic growth from greenhouse gas emissions and helped turn clean energy into a pillar of our economy that now supports over half a million jobs in our state.”

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Filed Under: Generation Transmission & Distribution Solar & Renewables Energy Storage Distributed Energy Efficiency & Demand Response Regulation & Policy
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