In 2022, California’s economy was ranked 1st in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP). The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, financial, information technology, aerospace, film, and tourism industries.
In 2002, California enacted a Renewables Portfolio Standard, 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.
Power Generation Capabilities
In June 2023, utilities used renewable energy (62.9%), natural gas (27.5%), nuclear (9.5%), and coal (0.1%) to generate electricity in California. Solar, onshore wind, hydropower, and geothermal are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in California.
In June 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in California was 31.22¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 16.11 ¢ per kWh.
Recent renewable energy developments in California include:
- 700 MW Solar + 700 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 by year-end 2023.
- 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.
- 350 MW Solar Project – In October 2022, Canadian solar company, Sonoran West Solar commissioned the Crimson Solar Project in Riverside County.
- 300 MW Solar Project + 600 MWh Energy Storage Project – French energy company, EDF Renewables is continuing work on the Desert Quartzite solar project in Riverside County. The project is forecast to be completed by year-end 2024.
- 100 MW Solar Project + 20 MW Energy Storage Project – In December 2022, Texas company Leeward Renewable Energy commissioned the Rabbitbrush Solar Facility in Kern County.
- 90 MW Solar + 70 MW Energy Storage – In April 2023, German renewable energy company, BayWa commissioned the Jacumba Valley Ranch Energy Park in San Diego County.
In 2002, California legislators passed zero-carbon emission laws without asking the critical question – Does the state have the renewable energy resource and a plan to achieve the zero-carbon emission mandate?
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, including imports from Mexico. California’s dreams of a clean, green energy future can be achieved with significant help from its neighbors and the development the state’ offshore wind resources.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy issues.