SB 100, a bill that mandates that the state will receive all its power from sources that do not produce carbon emissions by the year 2045, came one step closer to becoming a law, or at least landing on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk. The bill cleared two important hurdles in Sacramento this month, passing both the Assembly Natural Resources Committee and the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee.
If the bill becomes law, California utilities would be required to get 50 percent of electricity from clean sources by 2026, four years earlier than currently required by law. By 2030, that number jumps up to sixty percent, and by 2045, there would be no electricity generated from fossil fuels in the state of California. Essentially, SB 100 is an acceleration of the state’s existing renewable energy program, Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS has proven to be a driver of renewable energy development, as well the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Under SB 100, nuclear power and utility-scale hydropower count as clean energy. The utilities have not offered strong opposition to the bill, with some pledging their support.
While this might seem incredibly ambitious – a hundred percent is a striking figure to read when it comes renewable energy – for a sense of perspective, look back twenty-eight years. In 1989, renewable energy was in its nascent stages. Looking at how far clean power has come since then, is it so crazy to think that California could run on 100% clean power in another twenty-eight years?