The power sector plays a pivotal role in any scenario for substantially decarbonizing the U.S. economy by mid-century. The sector must substantially reduce its emissions even as demand for power rises as other sectors switch from fossil fuels to electricity to reduce their own carbon emissions.

Energy production is the third biggest contributor to pollution in California after transportation, and oil and gas refineries.

In an effort to curb this growing pollution, and stem backlash from environment groups, California has adopted a new emissions target for its electric sector. This new move—further opens the state of California to more solar industry jobs and business development opportunities.

The new targets would double the state’s clean energy capacity over the next decade and progressively close the door to the development of new natural gas plants.

The state’s Public Utilities Commission has set new standards for greenhouse gas emissions, targeting a 25 percent reduction by 2030, and going 100 percent ‘zero-carbon’ by 2045.

In order to achieve the 2030 goal, California electricity providers will need to develop nearly 25 gigawatts of renewable energy and battery storage.

This is nearly double the amount the state has currently, CPUC Commissioner Liane Randolph said in a statement.

The agency anticipates 8,900 MW of energy storage will be included in that total or about eight times more than existed in the entire United States at the end of 2018.

Green groups say this goal is not aggressive enough.

Environmental groups, such as Sierra Club, had pressed for a more aggressive target of 30 MMT that would get the state closer to its 2045 goal of sourcing electricity exclusively from carbon-free sources.

“We must go beyond business as usual, and act with the urgency that is necessary to adequately tackle the climate crisis,” Sierra Club Campaign Representative Luis Amezcua said in a statement.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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