The population of the state of California is approximately 39.56 million people. In September 2020, California utilities used natural gas (54.6%), renewable energy (36.4%), nuclear (8.9%) and coal (0.1%) to generate electricity in the state. Solar, biomass, hydropower, wind, and geothermal are the primary sources of renewable energy in California.
The devastation from California’s massive wildfires have contributed to the state’s high cost of electricity. In September 2020, the average cost of residential electricity in California was 21.23 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 13.55 ¢ per kWh.
California is one of 30 states with a renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The state requires that 50% of state’s electricity be powered by renewable resources by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 100% by 2045.
On September 23, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newson issued an executive order mandating that all new cars sold must be zero emissions by 2035. The executive order further requires all medium and heavy-duty trucks must be zero-emissions by 2045.
Utilities across California are moving to secure long-term power purchase agreements with renewable energy and energy storage projects, including:
- 1,000 MW Floating Wind Farm – Monterey Bay Community Power has signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase electricity from the Castle Wind floating offshore wind farm. The offshore wind project is located approximately 30 miles off the coast of Morro Bay, California.
- 400 MW Solar + 180 MW Energy Storage Project – Clean Power Alliance has signed a long-term, power purchase agreement for electricity from the Rexford 1 Solar & Storage Center, which is located in Tulare County, California.
- 192 MW Solar Project – In January 2021, Clearwater Energy commissioned the Rosamond Central solar project, which is located in Kern County, California,
- 5 MW Energy Storage System – In July 2020, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) began construction on a lithium ion energy storage system in Monterey County, California. The energy storage system is scheduled to be commissioned by July 2021.
- 127 MW Energy Storage Project – PG&E has requested California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approval to sign a 15 year power purchase agreement with Lancaster Battery Storage, which is located in Los Angeles County. The energy storage system is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2022.
- 100 MW Solar + 10 MW Energy Storage Project – San José Clean Energy has signed a long-term, power purchase agreement for electricity with the Sonrisa Solar Park, which is located in Fresno Country, California.
- 132 MW Energy Storage Project – PG&E has requested CPUC approval to sign a 15 year power purchase agreement with North Central Valley Energy Storage for an energy storage project, which is located in San Joaquin County. The energy storage system is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2023.
- 40 MW Energy Storage Project – PG&E has requested CPUC approval to sign a 15 year power purchase agreement with LeConte Energy Storage for an energy storage project, which is located in Imperial County. The energy storage system is scheduled to be commissioned in August 2022.
California’s dreams of achieving a green future must overcome many challenges, including high state rankings in population (1st), energy consumption (2nd), and cost of living (2nd). The state must also contend with routine occurrences of massive wildfires.
California legislators passed zero-carbon emission laws without asking the most important question – Does the state have the renewable energy resources to make it happen? When California closes the last remaining nuclear power plant, the state may not achieve their zero-carbon goal, unless it imports more green energy from neighboring states like Oregon.
Oregon has almost unlimited renewable energy potential from wind, solar, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal. California has been importing clean green energy from Oregon’s hydropower projects for decades. California’s dreams of a green future will almost certainly require Oregon’s assistance to make it a reality.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
 California Population 2020, World Population Review
 U.S. Energy Information Agency – California State Profile and Energy Estimates
 National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, April 17, 2020
 NPR – California Governor Signs Order Banning Sales Of New Gasoline Cars By 2035, September 23, 2020