By Robert Mullin
California has moved a step closer to adopting a 100% clean energy standard.
The State Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would require California load-serving entities to obtain all of their electricity deliveries from renewable resources by 2045 (SB 100).
Sponsored by Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León, a Los Angeles Democrat, the bill passed 25-13 along party lines. It now moves to the State Assembly.
“When it comes to our clean air and climate change, we are not backing down,” de León said in a statement. “Today, we passed the most ambitious target in the world to expand clean energy and put Californians to work.”
De León said it is now critical for California to “double down on climate leadership” given President Trump’s announcement today that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change. (See related story, Trump Pulling U.S. Out of Paris Climate Accord.)
“We are sending a clear message to the rest of the world that no president, no matter how desperately they try to ignore reality, can halt our progress,” he said.
The new bill would accelerate the timeline for California’s current 50% RPS from 2030 to 2026, with an interim 45% goal put in place for 2023. The 2030 requirement would increase to 60%, and the bill gives the California Energy Commission discretion to establish “appropriate” three-year compliance periods subsequent to 2030.
The bill also directs state agencies to incorporate the planning goal into any energy and climate programs subject to their jurisdiction, which would include the utility integrated resource plans administered by the PUC.
Passage of the bill got expected support from environmental groups and advocates for renewable energy.
“Getting 100% renewable is 100% possible and 200% necessary,” said Kathryn Phillips, director of Sierra Club California. “SB 100 responds to what survey after survey shows that Californians want: clean energy, clean air and a future for the next generation.”
Strela Cervas, co-director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance, said the proposed law would move California away from fossil fuels that that have a disproportionate impact on disadvantaged communities and communities of color.
“The bill charts a pathway for the public health and economic benefits of local renewable energy to reach communities that need it the most,” Cervas said.
“Transitioning to a 100% carbon-free future in an economy the size of California’s requires persistence, commitment and vision,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association.
In urging his colleagues to vote against the bill, Republican Sen. Jeff Stone warned that the state might be getting ahead of its ability to actually implement a 100% RPS.
“If we don’t have the science to back up the methodology to get to 2030 with 60% coming from renewables, then it’s going to increase costs for our constituents,” Stone said. “We need to let the technology drive the innovations in alternative energy and not put mandates out there that may be unachievable.”
If it becomes law, the bill would make California the second state after Hawaii to require LSEs to rely on 100% renewables by 2045.