California Should Adopt Mandate of 100% GHG-Free Electricity

The California Legislature has a historic opportunity to pass Senate Bill 100 (SB 100), which includes a target of 100 percent zero-carbon electricity statewide by 2045. If it is passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, SB 100 will commit the state to fully eliminating carbon pollution from electricity generation before the middle of the century. SB 100 will also adopt an ambitious near-term target of 60 percent renewable electricity by 2030 and move forward the current mandate of 50 percent renewables from 2030 to 2026. NRDC urges California lawmakers to join in supporting this critical and historic piece of legislation.

Passage of SB 100 will help keep the state on track to achieve the long-term carbon pollution goals that were adopted in 2015. As we all witness a second catastrophic hurricane this year and unprecedented forest fires, bold and confident actions by California lawmakers are exactly what is needed. California’s leadership will stand in stark contrast to the backpedaling by the Trump Administration, which is afraid to even talk about climate change.

SB100 deserves broad, bipartisan support because California has successfully implemented all renewable portfolio standard (RPS) requirements to date. We’ve exceeded all of our targets and costs have been lower than expected. The state’s large investor-owned utilities are on track to far exceed the current RPS requirement for 33% renewables by 2020. Given this track record, we can and should confidently press forward with this ambitious effort.

SB 100 builds on this record of success in order to accelerate California’s progress toward a clean energy future that will support well-paying jobs and a prosperous economy. Green energy is already one of the fastest growing jobs sectors of the economy. The ambitious but achievable long-term target of 100 zero-carbon resources by 2045 gives a clear signal to the market for continued investment and growth well into the future. 

More than ever, it is essential that we take strong action now to reduce emissions and protect public health. For far too long, communities across the state have borne the brunt of pollution from fossil fuels. Along with the aggressive new measures to reduce pollution in disadvantaged communities adopted earlier this summer, SB 100 will fuel the transition to cleaner air and healthier, more sustainable communities. 

About the Authors

Peter Miller

Western Energy Project Director, Energy & Transportation program

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