Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Research | By Clarence Powell

California to phase out fossil fuels for electricity by 2045

California to phase out fossil fuels for electricity by 2045

California would set a goal of phasing out all fossil fuels from the state's electricity sector by 2045 under legislation signed by Gov. At the signing ceremony in Sacramento, Governor Brown said, "It's not going to be easy". The legislation requires retail electricity suppliers within the state to secure 100 percent of their power from renewables or zero-emissions sources by 2045 and updates the state's existing renewable portfolio standard (RPS).

The second part declares that the state's policy is to work toward eliminating fossil fuels from the electric grid and all agencies should make decisions with that goal in mind.

The Sierra Club, noting that California has the world's fifth largest economy, stated, "California is now the largest global economy to commit to 100 percent renewable energy". Also on Monday, Brown issued an executive order establishing a new target to achieve carbon neutrality by the same year.

This action comes days before grassroots activists, mayors, governors, heads of industry and worldwide leaders convene in San Francisco for the express goal of mobilizing climate action at the Global Climate Action Summit.

Another 9 percent came from nuclear power, and a third from natural gas.

Under the new law, California will aim to hit 50 percent renewable energy in 2025 and 60 percent by 2030.

As Mexico, Canada, and other US states seek to lower emissions, North America will continue to be one of the largest energy storage markets in the world for many years.

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"This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond".

The California governor has taken on the mantle of leading the USA effort to combat climate change as President Donald Trump has sought to roll back environmental regulations and support coal-fired power plants.

"If we do not change course by 2020, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a speech Monday, warning of a "dark and unsafe future". Hawaii is the only other USA state to set a similar goal.

"Not here, not now", said Brown. "And we're going to continue ... to transition our economy to zero carbon emissions and to have the resiliency and the sustainability that science tells us we must achieve". Although California has phased coal plants out of its state-wide energy mix, it still relies.

The announcement comes just days ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit. California would need to install more than 200 times as much energy-storage capacity than it has now to make up for the loss of gas plants, according to the Clean Air Task Force, a Boston-based energy-policy nonprofit.

To support energy storage deployments and greenhouse-gas reduction goals, two additional energy storage bills that complement SB 100 await Governor Brown's signature. Democratic State Senator Kevin de Leon wrote the bill.

But electricity accounts for only 16 percent of California's emissions.

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