It’s official, California will move to 100 percent clean energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Yesterday (Sept. 10), Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed SB100 into law, which doubles the renewable portfolio standard goals that Brown signed into law slightly less than three years ago and raises the timeline on transitioning to clean energy. He also signed an executive order committing the state to carbon neutrality by 2045 as well.
“California is committed to doing whatever is necessary to meet the existential threat of climate change,” Brown said in a signing statement.
“This bill and the executive order put California on a path to meet the goals of Paris and beyond. It will not be easy. It will not be immediate. But it must be done,” Brown added.
The bill was authored by Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Kevin de León (D). “In California, Democrats and Republicans know climate change is real, it’s affecting our lives right now, and unless we take action immediately—it may become irreversible,” de León said. “Today, with Governor Brown’s support, California sent a message to the rest of the world that we are taking the future into our own hands; refusing to be the victims of its uncertainty. Transitioning to an entirely carbon-free energy grid will create good-paying jobs, ensure our children breathe cleaner air and mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change on our communities and economy.”
Thus far only Hawaii, and now California, have committed to transition to 100 percent clean energy. Hawaii made the commitment earlier, but California’s commitment represents a much larger state and economy—the fifth largest in the world—and it’s thus far been making the transition to clean energy without raising energy prices. Last year it sourced just shy of 30 percent of its electricity from renewable resources.
The signing of the bill and executive order were heralded by the renewable energy industry as well as environmental organizations. Among its supporters were the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), The Sierra Club, Vote Solar and others.
"Governor Brown and the Legislature deserve enormous credit for getting SB 100 done. As the world’s fifth largest economy, California and this law set a new benchmark for other states,” said SEIA CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “California has taken a monumental step in enacting one of the world’s most ambitious clean energy policies. As the largest solar market in the US, California has already proven that investing in renewable energy brings jobs and massive economic and environmental benefits to the state—benefits that will grow exponentially with the enactment of SB 100.”
“California is showing the world that a transition to 100 percent clean energy is within reach and it will continue to drive the transition away from fossil fuels—and it is doing this while the federal government abandons clean energy,” said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. “Senate Bill 100 reflects the state’s commitment to reduce climate and air pollution, and it builds on the ingenuity and the strength of its workforce.”
The state already has made significant progress on transitioning to renewable energy and reducing its climate impact. Earlier this year, California announced that its emissions reductions efforts have already surpassed early goals. Currently its emissions are 13 percent below their 2004 peak, which California had set as a goal for 2020. Meanwhile it’s economy grew 26 percent while cutting emissions.Tweet