BREAKING: California Governor Signs SB100 for 100% Renewable Power by 2045

By Robert Tseng
10 September 2018
Governor Brown Signs SB100

California legislators are making strides in fulfilling their commitment to electricity generated from zero-carbon sources. The new deadline? 2045.

After Governor Brown's signature today, Senator Kevin de León has set a new state target through SB 100 to hit 100% renewable electricity by 2045. This motion further reinforces California as a leading state in progressive energy policy.

Here's the California Clean Energy Fund's Danny Kennedy celebrating the history and outlook for SB100 at Pick My Solar's HQ in the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator:

What exactly is California's Senate Bill 100?

SB 100 is the legislative brainchild of California Senator Kevin de León to accelerate renewable energy adoption by instating new, more aggressive, standards.

This bill also replaces SB 315, passed in 2015, which set a renewable target of 50% by 2030. This bill now sets the higher standard of 60% by that date. 

CALIFORNIA'S NEWEST RENEWABLE TARGETS

Target Date 2017 2020 2026 2030 2045
RPS Goal 20% 33% 50% 60% 100%
Year Passed 2002 (SB 1078) 2011 (SB 21X) 2018 (SB 100) 2018 (SB 100) 2018 (SB 100)

 

The end goal of the program is to require all electric utility providers to eventually transition to 100% carbon free electricity sources by 2045. Other notable milestones include an updated target of 50% energy meeting renewable energy standards by the end of 2026 and 60% by 2030.

Aside from achieving a sustainable renewable energy portfolio, other potential benefits to this initiative include streamlining electrical grid integration and stabilizing retail rates for electric service.

How are interest groups responding to SB100?

Among many clean energy advocates, Kathryn Phillips, the director of Sierra Club California posits:

“Getting 100 percent renewable is 100 percent possible and 200 percent necessary. SB 100 responds to what survey after survey shows that Californians want: clean energy, clean air and a future for the next generation.”

Danny Kennedy, Managing Director of the California Clean Energy Fund, notes in his remarks today:

"In order to achieve 100% renewable power in California, we need to have electrified everything by the time we do."

Due to the unpredictable nature of forecasting technological development, the bill doesn’t attempt to penalize utility agencies for not going completely renewable by 2045. In fact, the fine print suggests that the power simply has to be “carbon free,” meaning that electricity production should not emit specific greenhouse gases. Newer technologies will certainly work within that definition, but there is also room for traditional methods like hydropower generated by dams to still be part of the picture, despite not being counted as renewable energy as it's termed in the bill.

shutterstock_120170554

Hydropower generation in Los Angeles

By painting a clear target and while offering execution flexibility, SB 100 opens the door for other initiatives to construct the most efficient road map. Future legislation can address bottleneck issues and market forces will inevitably drive more resources into funding the creation and adoption of clean energy technology.

How does this target shift current industry efforts?

SB100 targets are considered highly achievable. In fact, industry efforts are already on pace to meet these standards. California has consistently met it’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) since its inception in 2002. Statewide efforts achieved 20% by 2010 and it's easily on track to reach 33% by 2020. The new target of 50% by 2026 keeps with current adoption rates.

In terms of industry focus, California is the climate innovation goldmine, with 57.2 percent of the $2.5 billion invested into clean energy technology throughout the US flowing into California companies. As market cap growth continues to exceed expectations, there are virtually no signs of slowing down for this industry. 

Here the industry perspective via Pick My Solar LIVE! Kyle and Andrew provide an overview of SB100 on our weekly livestream.

How will SB100 affect general consumers?

The bill notes a couple things for the end-users of California's electricity:

  1. Renewable electricity improves public health and air quality, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by pollution from fossil-fuel based power plants.
  2. The California Energy Commission has been tasked with ensuring that electricity rates are still "just and reasonable," even as utility companies will need to invest more in renewable power.

Generally speaking, these new standards will be great for going solar in California. Here's a few tips to stay ahead of the curve:

  1. More renewable energy investment will likely mean more options for consumers to choose clean energy
  2. Utilities will likely revamp or introduce new incentives for consumers who are looking to go solar or install other clean energy devices
  3. Use our online platform to stay up-to-date on the latest solar offerings. We offer unbiased price comparisons, end-to-end expert advice to navigate the web of options, and solar starter tutorials to cover all the bases.

The Golden State got even sunnier today! This is a positive step for the adoption of sustainable technologies everywhere.

Cover image source: California Senate Democrats / YouTube

What's Pick My Solar? We empower our customers to adopt clean energy through transparency and choice. Our free, no-obligation platform provides competing solutions from top providers.

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