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California’s leading efforts in clean energy have some labeling it as the new Sunshine State. In 2017, almost half of the state’s net electricity generation came from renewable sources. Now, the state is aiming for 100% renewable electricity by 2045.

With renewables on the rise and public momentum on it’s side, California seems poised to continue it’s clean energy push. Below, we’ll take a look at how it all comes together, and where the state is headed next.

Aiming for 100% renewable energy

California’s first renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was established in 2002. The initial goal was for 20% of electricity in the state to be generated from renewable sources by 2017. The state beat that goal by 14%. Now, California has set its sights even higher.

California’s current energy mix consists of:

  • 34 percent – Natural Gas
  • 29 percent – Renewables
  • 15 percent – Large Hydro
  • 13 percent – Coal & Other
  • 9 percent – Nuclear

In 2018, the Assembly of the State of California approved a measure to mandate 100% renewable energy generation of electricity in the state by 2045. The state will seek to meet a 60% threshold on the way, by 2030.

The road to 100% renewable energy

California’s current renewable energy mix has come in large part from an expansion in solar power. In the last five years, solar generation has increased by almost 490 percent, with off-grid generation increasing by nearly 310 percent.

In 2018, total renewable generation — which included out-of-state generation delivered to California and behind-the-meter/off-grid solar generation — was estimated at 97,358 GWh. To compare, the next three states (North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada) amount to a total of about 10.7 GW of installed solar.

However, California isn’t just looking to update the power flowing into it’s grid. It’s aim is for a smarter, more efficient grid too.

One of California’s biggest hurdles to reach 100% renewable energy is the integration of vast energy storage systems. As a start, San Diego Gas & Electric recently unveiled the world’s largest lithium-ion battery energy storage center, with capacity for a full 30 megawatts. Storage is a critical component to grid infrastructure updates, and helps prevent intermittency from solar and wind resources.

The investment in energy storage systems and other renewable technologies, will pay off in the long-run, as these types of resources become more affordable for all consumers.

Did you know?

Besides having 29 percent of its energy sourced from renewable resources, California continues to pursue wholistic sustainability for the betterment of our planet. Below you’ll find some interesting facts, highlighting California’s plans to combat climate change.

  • West Hollywood has signed a joint pledge to only buy zero-emission busses after 2025, per the Global Climate Action Summit.
  • Governor Brown of California met with China’s Chief Climate Negotiator, and announced that California and China will work together on fuel-cell research and zero emission vehicles.
  • The Golden State is home to over 350,000 electric vehicles, nearly half of all electric cars in the U.S.
  • The total amount of clean energy jobs (519,158) outnumbers the amount of fossil fuel jobs in California by more than 430,000, according to E2.
  • California accounts for more than 1 out of 7 clean energy jobs within the U.S.

Google, Microsoft, and other tech giants are committed in joining California’s fight against climate change. According to Green Tech Media, Google continues to look at innovative ways for complete sustainability, “Google built on the 100 percent concept with the release of Carbon Heat Maps, which show that there are times and places where Google’s electricity profile is not yet fully carbon free — what Google wants to be.”

Incorporating new innovative technologies into energy production, will in turn achieve 100 percent consumption from renewable resources. California has already shown that it can surpass its goals way ahead of schedule. So, if that trend continues, we may see California achieve 100 percent sustainability well before the year 2045. Here’s to hoping.

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