Updated: California Senate votes for 100% renewable energy goal 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. This post has been also updated to reflect that SB 100 would set a 50% renewable energy target by 2025, not 2020.
- The California Senate last Wednesday passed a measure to set 100% renewable energy by 2045. The bill now moves to the state Assembly.
- Senate Bill 100 mandates utilities to reach 50% renewable energy by the end of 2026 and 60% renewables by the end of 2030 with the aim to hit 100% renewables by 2045, though that is not a mandated target. The state currently has a 50% renewable energy mandate set for 2030, and sourced 27% of its power from renewables last year.
- The bill comes as California looks to respond to President Trump's decision to exit the Paris climate accord. Reuters reports Gov. Jerry Brown (D) intends to discuss linking the state's carbon markets with those in Asia on a trip to China this week.
California is already a leader on clean energy and renewable standards, but the Golden State — in the wake of President Trump's climate decision last week — appears to be pressing ahead with even more ambitious goals.
“When it comes to our clean air and climate change, we are not backing down,” Senate President Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), said in a statement after lawmakers voted for the more aggressive RPS. De Leon was the architect of the sate's 50% standard, PV Tech points out.
The senator said the 100% renewable goal would be "the most ambitious target in the world to expand clean energy and put Californians to work." The bill would put the state on par with Hawaii, which also has a 100% mandate to hit by 2045.
The state currently sources nearly 30% of its electricity from renewables and penetration reached over 70% for short periods of time this spring. The increased renewables exacerbated negative pricing in CAISO this spring, but the grid operator is currently looking at market expansion and other reforms to integrate more intermittent power.
The state's investor-owned utilities support the current 50% renewables mandate and are on track to meet it. The 100% goal would represent a much more ambitious goal, but the utilities did not provide comment in media reports after the bill passage.
Sen. De Leon was also behind a letter sent by 27 senators to Gov. Brown following the Trump administration’s announcement it would withdraw from the Paris accord.
“Given the United States’ abdication of climate leadership, it is now time for California to lead with our technologies and our innovative policies," they wrote. "Towards this end, we encourage you to consider convening a Climate Summit, partner with Mexico and Canada, and invite like-minded states and subnationals from around the world, to ensure that we continue to charge ahead without forfeiting all of our historic progress to date.”
Last week President Trump held a press conference to announce the United States would exit the climate accord. Signed by 195 nations at the end of 2015, Trump said the it is "bad deal for Americans" that "disadvantages the United States at the exclusive advantage of other countries."
The accord aims to limit global warming to 2°C this century, translating into an 80% economywide decarbonization for the U.S. by 2050.
Before and after the White House announced its decision, business leaders and elected officials were indicating their support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. On his trip to China, Gov. Brown is expected to discuss California's carbon market with Chinese officials, and possibly raise the idea of linking his state's efforts with work in Asia.
State lawmakers, however, are still struggling to pass an extension to California' s cap-and-trade program, authorized to 2020.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter