AUG 29, 2018 2:58 PM PDT

CA to commit to 100% zero-carbon electricity

A new bill which would require 100% of California’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2045 was voted in by legislators on Tuesday. Authored by state senator Kevin de Leon, the bill, called SB 100, still needs to be passed by the state Senate and Governor Jerry Brown. If done so, CA will be the second state, after Hawaii, to commit to such an ambitious plan to confront climate change.

The bill will instate landmarks to keep the plan on track. By 2030, electric utilities will be required to obtain 60% of their power from renewable sources. Currently, the state gets about one-third of its electricity from renewables.

“This is a pivotal moment for California, for the country, and the world,” said Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. “California is showing the world that moving to 100% clean energy is within our reach and what bold climate leadership looks like in the face of a Trump administration.”

Though opponents of the bill tout that electricity rates will rise under the plan, the bill leaves an interesting hook for future development that hopefully will prove this sentiment wrong. SB 100 has purposely left wiggle room in the outline of its terms in regards to the specific renewable energies that count as carbon-free. In addition to solar and wind, the bill leaves room for new types of clean energy technology that may be discovered throughout the 27-year implementation.

The news has environmentalists gleeful, especially upon considering the severe wildfires and drought that has plagued the state in the last year. The hope is that this move will spur other states, like New Jersey and Massachusetts, to make similar commitments. The Senate will vote before the legislative session closes on Friday.

Already California obtains almost one-third of its electricity from renewable energies. Photo: Vox

“Today, California made history," said Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, in a statement. "We applaud all of the state lawmakers who acted on behalf of their constituents, answered the overwhelming call for an economy powered entirely by clean energy and demonstrated democracy at its best," he said. "When the world’s fifth-largest economy votes to go 100 percent clean, there’s no room left for the naysayers to say it can’t be done."

Sources: The Guardian, Greentech Media

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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