As of 3:39 pm on April 3rd, California proudly announced that its statewide power grid ran on 97% renewable energy.
While this only happened briefly, it marks an epoch-making moment for the state. Indeed, California has been making an active shift towards renewable energy in the context of mitigating the effects of climate change.
According to a California Independent System Operator (CISO) statement, the new record hits the previous one of 96.4% set in the past week.
CISO CEO Elliot Manzer opines that as brief as these all-time highs may have been, they reflect California’s dedication to hitting its clean power goals and making the necessary shift to a zero-emissions economy by 2045. Indeed, the record was set thanks to the provision of power into the state grid by local wind farms and solar facilities.
For his part, California governor Gavin Newsom lauded the achievement as it represents a milestone on how solar and wind energy production within his jurisdiction has increased over the past few years. Newsom reiterated his hope that the state will be able to take around half of its energy requirements from renewable sources within the next three years.
Meanwhile, state legislators are working on several new laws and ordinances to put California’s transition to clean and renewable energy on the fast track. Over 25 bills have already been filed and are now under consideration to date.
In January of this year, Newsom presented an electric vehicle (EV) plan for the state of California worth $10 billion. It aims to ease the transition from gas-powered cars to EVs and will lead to a prohibition on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
However, clean energy advocates in and out of state say that the plan will only be effective if the electricity generated for EV use comes from renewable sources instead of conventional power plants. As recently as 2020, a mere 33% of the total amount of power generated for statewide use was from renewable sources.
Ashutosh Bhagwat, chairman of CISO’s board of governors, says that the challenge for the state now is to ensure that its renewable power sector continues to hit key milestones in a timely, more regular fashion. For him, hitting these record highs gives locals a clearer vision of how the future could be with renewable power and ensures that everyone plays their part in turning the vision of a highly efficient and sustainable statewide power grid into a reality.