August 29, 2018

California Cements Its Climate Leadership With Passage of 100 Percent Clean Energy Bill

Statement by Laura Wisland, Senior Energy Manager, Union of Concerned Scientists

OAKLAND, Calif. (August 29, 2018)—The California state legislature passed the 100 Percent Clean Energy Act (SB 100 De León) and proved itself once again today to be an international climate leader. The legislation, if signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown later this year, will set a goal that all of California’s electricity be generated from carbon-free resources by 2045, and it increases the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 50 to 60 percent by 2030. The legislation allows flexibility in how the remaining 40 percent of carbon-free electricity will be supplied.

California investor-owned utilities will reach a 50 percent RPS by 2030, ahead of schedule. In 2017, California received about 29 percent of its electricity from renewable resources, such as solar and wind, and another 24 percent came from a combination of nuclear and large hydropower, both of which are carbon-free.

Below is a statement by Laura Wisland, senior energy manager at the Union of Concerned Scientists and a leading expert on grid modernization and integration of renewable energy sources.

“Today, state legislators proved to the world that climate leadership is alive and well in California, even if it’s absent in Washington D.C. Achieving 100 percent clean electricity is bold, but most important, necessary. The state has demonstrated multiple times that when it sets ambitious climate and clean energy goals it achieves them in record time.

“Raging wildfires, record-setting heat and smoky skies this summer signaled to Californians that climate change is here and it’s getting worse. In time it will affect everyone, but especially the most vulnerable communities. We can’t move away from fossil fuels fast enough.

 “Now the planning begins. We look forward to working with state leaders and community stakeholders to figure out exactly how we will end our reliance on coal and natural gas. We must be smart, equitable and orderly as we transition to 100 percent clean energy. This is an opportunity for California to lead on scientific innovation, make technological advances and help slow climate change. All eyes are on our state to show the world how a gigantic economy and 40 million people can take the carbon out and keep the lights on.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.