New legislation has been cleared by the Californian Assembly to help the region to accelerate its clean energy adoption, ending its reliance on fossil fuels.
The latest bill, Senate Bill 100, has been pushed by national politicians and state officials and would require California to obtain 100% of its power from clean sources by 2045.
The bill states that electric utilities and other service providers generate 60% of their power from renewable sources by 2030, up from the current 50% goal set for that date.
The 2045 deadline of phasing out fossil fuels is a goal that does not include mandates or penalties.
This legislation will ensure California continues to lead in environmental issues and combating climate change.
“We have to be a leader. We have to show what can be done,” said Assemblyman Bill Quirk, a Hayward Democrat. “If we can get to 100 percent renewables, others will as well.”
Quirk, a scientist who has worked on climate change research, said he wasn’t sure if the new goals were feasible, but the state must try.
The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote.
“This is a huge victory for the state of California,” said state Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), the bill’s author. “It’s a victory for clean air. It’s a victory to tackle climate change and the devastation that it’s leaving in its wake.”
Republicans and some moderate Democrats said the legislation would saddle families and businesses with higher energy bills.
Phasing out fossil fuels would be a massive change in the energy grid. Utilities rely on natural gas plants to meet demand when renewables fall short, particularly in the early evening when the sun sets and people turn on their air conditioners as they get home from work.
Renewable energy experts have looked to batteries that can store solar energy generated in the afternoon as one possible solution, but the technology is not ready for widescale deployment.