SB 584 – 100% Renewable Energy by 2045

Here’s a pretty big measure that has received surprisingly little coverage, at least from major news organizations (I have only linked the NY Times ‘California Today’ newsletter and the LA Times below, I didn’t have time to research into the energy-focused sources where I found other pieces to ensure they were sufficiently balanced). Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon has authored a bill to put California on track for 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2045.

The Basics

  • The state’s Public Utilities Commission has a renewables portfolio: basically the standards for renewable energy it sets. The bill would revise those standards to aim for 100 percent of the state’s electricity products to come from renewable energy sources, such as solar power, wind power,

Who to call

In-Depth

This proposal is quite ambitious when you consider it in light of the existing expectation for the state to achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2030.

The text of the bill alters legislative declarations and finding to accelerate the 50 percent benchmark to 2025, with the pipe dream of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The question I would try to answer as a reporter here–what I consider the crux of this debate–is whether or not it’s fair to call that goal a ‘pipe dream.’ The New York Times newsletter I linked to below addressed some of these considerations, but I still have some questions:

  • What qualifies as ‘renewable’? Hydroelectric power seems like a great source after our particularly wet year, but in drier years, will tapping into such a scarce resource be sustainable?
  • Are there penalties if we don’t meet the standards set by the renewables portfolio?
  • What are the cons to speeding up the schedule? Less sustainable development? Or is it simply a goal to work towards?

Still, like many recent bills, this one is just as much symbolic as it is practical. Even if you have concerns about the bill in its current form and aren’t settled one way or another, talking to your representation about it is a good way to have your voice heard on state energy issues. The outcome of this bold proposal will be a way to gauge where California is going in terms of renewable energy.

Media Coverage

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