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S.B. 100: California clean energy bill is now law

14 September 2018

California's governor has signed a bill setting a 100% clean energy goal for the state and issued an executive order setting a target to achieve carbon neutrality, both by 2045. Jerry Brown front center, Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday making California the first state to set a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, despite concerns about increased electricity costs.

The law makes California the largest global economy to commit to 100 percent clean energy. This order essentially states that California must "remove (s) as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits".

Brown's actions come ahead of a global climate change summit beginning Wednesday in San Francisco. The remaining electricity came from non-renewable sources, including natural gas at 33 percent. The bill also requires electric utilities and other service providers to generate 60% of their power from renewable sources by 2030, up from the 50% goal previously set for that date.

The legislation also marks the latest conflict between California and President Trump, with the state repeatedly defying the administration's policies on everything from energy to civil rights to immigration.

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"We all have the opportunity and the obligation to do our part to combat climate change", he told AFP hours after signing the bill into law.

He says California is doing the opposite of the federal government when it comes to climate policy.

As of 2017, the previous year for which complete data is available, the state got 44 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including 15 percent from large hydroelectric projects, just over 10 percent from solar, and 9 percent from wind power.

"It will not be easy", Brown tweeted after signing Senate Bill 100 and a related executive order.

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The state of California is the world's fifth largest economy, and in many cases, it already sets some of the most ambitious environmental goals on the continent, if not the planet. "But have no illusions", he added, "California and the rest of the world have miles to go before we achieve zero-carbon emissions".

Critics have argued that the bill is unrealistic and will compound the state's problems with rolling brownouts and high energy prices.

While California has been a leader on reducing the amount of electricity it gets from burning fossil fuels, the state has struggled to be as forward-leaning in reducing the greenhouse gas pollution spewed from cars and trucks.

The co-chairs of the San Francisco climate summit include former NY mayor and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa, and China's top climate official, Xie Zhenhua. Kevin de Leon, a Los Angeles Democrat who is running for U.S. Senate against fellow Democratic U.S. Sen. "Planning needs to start now to allow a smooth transition to a 100% clean electricity system, avoiding stranded investments and driving better outcomes for families and businesses across California".

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S.B. 100: California clean energy bill is now law