May 25, 2023
California Can Hit Its Clean Power Goals, Governor Newsom Says
(Bloomberg) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom said the state is on track to meet its ambitious clean energy targets — already producing more than half of the state’s electricity from zero-carbon sources.
Speaking outside the headquarters of a startup making electric generators in Contra Costa County, east of San Francisco on Thursday, Newsom said 59% of the state’s retail electricity sales came from clean sources, which include nuclear and hydroelectric power.
“We are mindful that we’re going to live in a fossil free future,” Newsom said. “No state is doing more to support that transition.”
Newsom released a new road map on how the state plans to decarbonize its power supply as it transitions to renewable energy and phases out the use of planet-warming fossil fuels.
Read More: California’s Newsom Tries to Jolt Slow Infrastructure Creation
Since 2020, California has added 9,000 megawatts of new clean energy sources, according to officials. One megawatt is enough to power 750 California homes.
Currently, 37.2% of the state’s electricity comes from renewables such as solar and wind, an increase of about 2% from 2020, according to the California Energy Commission. By 2030, California is required to produce at least 60% of its electricity from renewables, until meeting 100% clean energy by 2045. The state needs to build 148,000 megawatts to support a carbon-free grid by 2045 — a 400% increase from today, according to the plan.
State officials say they are more confident of meeting those goals, even as extreme heat and wildfires driven by climate change still pose threats to California’s fragile power grid.
“While we face real challenges, we also remain optimistic about meeting the targets and goals for energy in the long-term,” said Siva Gunda, Vice Chair of the California Energy Commission.
Read More: California Sees Less Risk of Summer Blackouts With Power Surplus
In a sharp reversal from last year when the power grid reached the brink of collapse, officials also said California is unlikely to face electricity shortfalls this summer. New battery storage and ample hydroelectric power after winter storms have improved supply and reliability.
The combination of new battery energy storage and 1,300 more megawatts of hydroelectric production – boosted by a historic series of atmospheric rivers earlier this year– is expected to help the state meet peak demand during hot summer evenings, when air conditioners tend to go on and renewable resources like solar go off line.
California has also made strides in deploying new battery energy storage, increasing its storage supply almost 20-fold since 2019, from 250 megawatts to 5,000 megawatts. Current storage resources can capture enough electricity to power as many as 5 million California homes. Within the next few decades, the California Independent Systems Operator expects those resources to increase tenfold to reach 52,000 megawatts.
The announcement comes after Newsom last week unveiled a $180 billion infrastructure plan to modify the state’s longtime environmental law – the California Environmental Quality Act – intended to reduce permitting delays and expedite new projects such as power lines, water works, bridges and other construction.
--With assistance from Mark Chediak.
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