The California State Assembly passed a potentially historic piece of legislation on Tuesday that, if it makes it through the final legislative hurdles, will see California commit to being powered entirely by renewable energy by 2045.
Senate Bill 100 (SB-100) was introduced by outgoing State Senator Kevin de León — who is challenging Dianne Feinstein for her US Senate seat — and was passed by the Californian Senate earlier this year by a margin of 25 to 13. SB-100 calls for a renewable energy target of 60% by 2030, with an interim target of 50% by the end of 2026 and a final 100% target by 2045.
The State Assembly passed the bill by 43 to 32 and it will now head back to the Senate and then to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk where it is expected to be quickly approved and signed into law.
“When it comes to fighting climate change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, California won’t back down,” said Senator Kevin de León. “Today, thanks to the leadership my colleagues displayed this afternoon, we have doubled down instead.”
California already has a long history of renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction accomplishments that set it apart as not only a leading voice in the United States but as a global environmental leader with the commitment and heft to push others to step up their own game. As the world’s fifth largest economy, California has set ambitious goals and knocked them off. Earlier this year, the California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols announced that the state had reduced its climate pollution to below 1990 levels four years ahead of schedule. In 2015, California recorded 500,000 clean energy jobs, and it currently boasts the country’s largest solar industry with 100,000 solar jobs.
The Golden State’s energy mix reflects its forward-thinking policies, with only 4% of its electricity generated from coal power and 29% coming from renewable energy and another 15% from hydropower, while 34% comes from natural gas, and 18% from nuclear and other sources.
“This is a massive victory for Californians who’ve been demanding a swift transition to clean energy in the state. With wildfires intensifying and temperatures skyrocketing, the impacts of climate change across the Golden State are impossible to ignore. Just this week, the state’s own climate assessment revealed that climate change will be deadlier, more destructive, and costlier than previously thought. SB 100 is a critical first step toward addressing the worsening climate crisis, but to truly change course, we must end fossil fuel extraction. Next week, thousands of people will flood the streets of San Francisco and cities around the world to demand bold leadership ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. Before then, Gov. Brown should step up and sign SB 100 — and then go even further by kickstarting the transition off of fossil fuels while protecting Californian’s lives and livelihoods.” – May Boeve, Executive Director of environmental nonprofit 350.org
“California just became the largest economy in the world to commit to a 100% clean energy grid,” said Paul Cort, an Earthjustice attorney who leads the California Right to Zero campaign. “While Trump is taking the nation backwards by deregulating and subsidizing the coal, oil, and natural gas industries in D.C., California is rolling up its sleeves to build bold climate protections. Already home to 500,000 clean energy jobs and the largest manufacturing powerhouse in the United States, California is proving that it can be done.”
The bill also recently came under fire from Robert Bryce, a Senior Fellow of the Manhattan Institute, who called into question the possibility of California transitioning to 100% renewable energy. Of particular interest for Bryce was research conducted by Stanford civil and environmental engineering professor Mark Jacobson.
Jacobson — unable to submit anything other than a short Letter to the Editor to the Los Angeles Times, which originally ran Bryce’s op-ed — turned to CleanTechnica to explain the “wildly exaggerated scare tactics” Bryce employed. You can read his full article here.
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