California has made major strides in the energy transition from carbon-based fuels to a power supply that is zero emissions by 2045. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an annual report underlining the progress, remarking that the state is“on pace”to reach the goal of 100% clean energy by 2045.
The transition is well underway, with nearly 35 GW of renewable resources already supplying power to the grid, 9 GW of which came online in the last 3 years. In just over 20 years, the Governor’s office predicts a need for an additional 148 GW to meet California’s clean energy demand.
This means a growth of 400% over the next two decades, a tough task, but one that is achievable for the frontrunner in clean energy technologies nationwide. California has already surpassed targets of a 33% share for renewable energy, also has reduced emissions below 1990 levels, and has sold over 1.5 million electric vehicles.
As of 2021, 59% of the state’s electricity comes from zero-carbon sources. Traditional renewables, including solar and wind, represent 37.2%, while large-scale hydropower carries a 10.7% share and nuclear energy supplying 10.8%. California seeks an interim target of 90% zero emissions electricity by 2035.
“Many of the ambitious goals we have set for ourselves have already been reached – some earlier than we expected. Building on that progress, California remains committed to leading the fight against climate change and will take the necessary actions to protect energy reliability during the clean energy transition,” said Governor Newsom.
Solar is expected to provide the largest share of electricity in California, preferred for its low cost and ability to be built in various designs, from smaller built environment distributed projects to large utility-scale solar facilities.
“We can do even more to take advantage of the existing built environment on the large rooftops of warehouses and superstores, along highways and over parking lots to get to our goals even faster, while protecting our open spaces,”said Laura Deehan, the state director of Environment California.
California is also working to tackle the issue of equity in the energy transition. It recently passed laws to establish a community solar market that requires at least 51% of the capacity serve low to moderate income residents. The program helps extend access to lower-cost renewable energy to renters and other residents who are otherwise unable to invest in rooftop solar.