Despite the country is run at a federal level by climate change deniers and literally big oil CEOs, many legislators resist the current Administration’s quest of undoing anything related to clean tech. Democrat Kevin de Léon, for instance, just introduced a bill last Friday in the state’s senate that if passed would force the sunny state to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. The same bill would require California to get half of its electricity from renewables by 2025.
California is already required to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind or solar by 2030 by a bill that was sponsored by the same de Léon. Now, the senator wants to up the stakes with a far more ambitious target by introducing SB 584. And he’s actually right for drawing more ambition given Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Company — the three biggest utilities in the state — were already meeting 24-35% of their electricity with renewables in 2015.
If the new bill is passed, California will join the ranks of a select few climate champion municipalities and states.
In the United States, 23 cities have pledged to go 100 percent renewable in the next twenty years. These include San Diego, California (by 2035), Rochester, Minnesota (by 2031), Grand Rapids, Michigan (by 2020) or East Hampton, New York (2020). Some cities have already met their goal, such as the small ski-resort town of Aspen which gets all of its electricity from wind and water. It was the third US city to earn the distinction in 2015. Georgetown, Texas, is just one year off from its 100% renewable-energy goal.
But pledging to do something versus being required to is a totally different ball game, as is policy at a state level versus a municipal one, which is why such bills are extremely important. But California wasn’t the first to be this ambitious in the United States. Hawaii beat California to it with a 100% by 2045 mandate and recently ThinkProgress reported lawmakers in Massachusetts have proposed a bill that would require the state to get all of its energy from renewables — that’s electricity, heating, transportation, literally everything.
Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder of ZME Science. He writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music on his computer and groom felines.