ARE THE GOLDEN STATE’S DREAMS OF A GREEN FUTURE POSSIBLE? ….With A Little Help From Offshore Wind And Its Neighbors

State Economy

The population of the “Golden State,” California is approximately 39.66 million people[1]. California is the most populated state in the United States.

In 2021, California’s economy was ranked 1st in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, information technology, aerospace, film, and tourism industries[3].

Environment Policies

In 2002, California enacted a Renewables Portfolio Standard[4], which requires all utilities to sell 44% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2024 , 52%, by 2027, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2045.

In 2020, California enacted legislation that mandates all new cars and trucks sold must be zero emissions by 2035 and 2045, respectively[5].

In March 2022, utilities[6] used renewable energy (52.4 %), natural gas (37.5 %), nuclear energy (9.9 %), and coal (0.2 %) to generate electricity in California. Solar, wind, hydropower, biomass, and geothermal are the types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in California.

In March 2022, the average cost of residential electricity in California was 26.71 ¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 14.47 ¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in California include:

  • 500 MW Pumped Storage Hydropower Project – The City of San Diego is continuing work to build a long-duration energy storage project above the existing San Vicente Reservoir. The project is forecast to be completed in 2030.
  • 400 MW Solar + 180 MW Energy Storage Project – American solar company, 8minute Solar Energy is continuing work on the Rexford 1 Solar & Storage Center in Tulare County. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 350 MW Solar Project – Canadian solar company, Sonoran West Solar is continuing work on the Crimson Solar Project in Riverside County. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2023.
  • 300 MW Solar + 25 MW Energy Storage – In September 2021, French utility, EDF commenced work on the Desert Quartzite solar plus storage project is in Riverside County. The project is forecast to be commissioned in 2024.
  • 214 MW Solar Projects – In February 2021, British utility, EDF Energy commissioned the Desert Harvest 1 and Desert Harvest 2 solar projects in Riverside County.
  • 192 MW Solar Project – In January 2021, Canadian renewable energy company, Clearwater Energy commissioned the Rosamond Central Solar Project in Kern County.
  • 5 MW Energy Storage Project – In April 2021, California utility, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) commissioned the Moss Landing energy storage system in Monterey County.
  • 90 MW Solar + 70 MW Energy Storage – German renewable energy company, BayWa is continuing work on the Jacumba Valley Ranch Energy Park in San Diego County. The project is scheduled to be commissioned by April 2023.
  • 4.8 MW Floating Solar Project – In March 2021, American renewable energy company, White Pine Renewables commissioned the Healdsburg Floating Solar Project at a water treatment facility in Sonoma County.

Conclusion

In 2002, California legislators passed zero-carbon emission laws without asking the critical question – Does the state have the renewable energy resource potential to achieve the zero-carbon emission laws?

California produces more electricity from solar, geothermal, and biomass than any other state. However, the state has been slow to develop the region’s enormous offshore wind potential, unlike the states along the eastern seaboard.

In 2021, California imported approximately 30% of its electricity supply from power plants outside of California[7], including imports from Mexico. California’s dreams of a clean, green energy future can be achieved with a little help from its neighbors and the development the state’ offshore wind resources.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.

[1] California Population 2022, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in California – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] NPR – California Governor Signs Order Banning Sales Of New Gasoline Cars By 2035, September 23, 2020

[6] U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), California State Profile and Energy Estimates

[7] U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), California State Profile and Energy Estimates, March 17, 2022

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