The state of California just created an ambitious goal, as well as a significant milestone, for itself on the road to a sustainable energy and climate ecosystem, thanks to the passage of Senate Bill 350, which sets the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030.
SB350, which was sponsored by Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leòn and which was previously passed by the state Senate, was approved by the California Assembly by a vote of 51-24, and will now go before Governor Jerry Brown to be signed into law. The passage of this bill follows the success of Hawaii’s recent move to adopt a 100% renewables standard by 2045, and was praised by clean energy advocates, environmentalists, and renewable energy industry groups.
“The passage of SB 350 is a huge win for Californians and solar power is going to be key in making this win a reality. The industry, in response to the State’s current RPS, and other leading California policies like net metering, has produced nearly 55,000 solar jobs in California and more than $11 billion a year in state investment, all while achieving dramatic cost reductions. Solar is now among the most economic energy options. Through the wise passage of this ambitious legislation, we look forward to more jobs and consumer benefits.” – Sean Gallagher, Vice President of State Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association
California, which already has a strong RPS policy in place that requires utilities to source 33% of their electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 2020, leads the nation in installed solar capacity (11 GW) and has beneficial net-metering policies, and this push to get to a 50% RPS is intended in part to boost renewables and cut carbon emissions in the Golden State. The new legislation sets interim targets for meeting that goal for the years 2024 and 2027, and includes a stipulation for doubling the energy efficiency goals for buildings by 2030. The original bill also called for a 50% reduction in petroleum use in vehicles, but the bill was amended to strip out that provision.
As not only the largest state in the US, but also the eighth largest economy in the world, this move by California to adopt a 50% RPS is laudable, but as De León points out, the struggle to increase clean energy and decrease carbon emissions is “far from over.”
“These new steps build on California’s historic commitment to lead the world in the fight against climate change and build a healthy and livable planet for our children and grandchildren. But our efforts to reduce carbon emissions are far from over as global warming and air pollution remain one of the most important issues of our generation and one the greatest threats for generations to come.” – De León
The Solar Energy Industries Association pointed out that still more renewable energy generation is needed to hit California’s climate goal of a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, that more work is needed to ensure the bill is implemented fairly and accurately, and additional steps must be taken to keep rooftop solar generation growing:
“For California to reach its state climate goals, and for solar’s success to continue, we’ll need all solar markets operating at their fullest potential.” – SEIA
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