California Is Going Carbon Free
October 8, 2018
On September 10, 2018 at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, Governor Jerry Brown signed bill SB 100 into law, committing the state to 100% carbon-free utility electricity by 2045. (California is the second state after Hawaii, in 2015, to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2045.) Two days later at the summit, Brown signed an executive order declaring that the entire state, including building and transportation sectors, will have to meet the same criteria and become carbon neutral by 2045. They are ambitious targets.
California’s next governor could still rescind the executive order, but SB 100 is here to stay. SB 100 sets goals for reducing greenhouse gases in stages, committing the state to:
- 50% renewable energy by 2026
- 60% renewable energy by 2030
- and 100% carbon-free energy by 2045
Committing to renewable energy is nothing new for California, which had already passed laws requiring that utilities get 50% of their energy from renewables by 2030. But becoming carbon-free is different. Carbon-free can include other energy sources such as nuclear and hydroelectric.
The details of achieving the 2045 SB 100 goals will evolve over time and will inevitably include new technologies to contend with increasing demand put on the grid from a growing electric vehicle industry.
The Global Climate Action Summit was intended to be “…a launchpad for deeper worldwide commitments and accelerated action from countries—supported by all sectors of society—that can put the globe on track to prevent dangerous climate change and realize the historic Paris Agreement,” according to its website. California—the world’s fifth largest economy—seems to be trying to live up to these commitments while providing a foil to the U.S. pulling out of the Paris Agreement.