California is Considering a Mandate to Make the State’s Entire Grid Fossil Fuel Free

The law would bump the requirement to 60% by 2030, with full compliance by 2045.

9. 2. 17 by Patrick Caughill
Vestas
Image by Vestas

Golden State Rule

Lawmakers in California will likely be voting on a revolutionary measure for the production of energy in the state. Senate Bill 100 boosts the 2030 goal from 50 percent to 60 percent clean energy generation and calls for a completely clean grid by 2045. The bill passed in California’s state Senate back in May and needs confirming votes from the lower legislative house before the bill will be sent to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown for ratification.

Experts are applauding the ambitious bill, but acknowledge the challenges the legislation will pose. “It’s doable,” said Mike O’Boyle, who studies the power sector at Energy Innovation, a think tank in San Francisco, in the LA Times. “But because we don’t really have a working example for a 100% renewable system, it’s going to be an ongoing experiment.”

Image credit: J R/Flickr

(Clean) Power to the People

California has a history of being at the forefront of renewable energy. A joint effort with Tesla demonstrated an early commitment to weaning the grid off of fossil fuels. Early this year, Tesla launched a 80 MWh Powerpack station that was designed to ease the demand on fossil fuel “peaker stations” that activate to supply energy during periods of high demand. These Powerpacks stored energy while the grid was under low demand for use during these peak times, allowing for less utilization of fossil fuel burning stations.

California will require a much greater investment in similar battery infrastructure if they want to make their plan actionable. The batteries will be able to store energy when demand is low, and allow the grid to draw power on cloudy or less windy days.

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This is an ambitious and admirable goal for a state, but could also start a wave of cooperation across the entire nation. California would likely need wind power from Wyoming on cloudy days, and Wyoming could very well benefit from the necessary infrastructure. This would ideally cause a chain reaction leading to a nation of green cooperation, from sea to shining sea.


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